LEON Davies is chasing another golden Quirindi Cup-Lightning double today with Clever Hans and Sarah’s Son but he is also about to unleash two young apprentice riders on the Hunter and North West Racing Association scene.
The Tamworth trainer has enticed young Brisbane apprentice Sairyn (pronounced Siren) Fawke to Tamworth to ride and work for him while he is also preparing lightweight Taylah Gray to ride as well.
Fawke, 20, will have his first rides for the Davies stable at tomorrow’s Moree Cotton Cup meeting while 19-year-old Gray has had a couple of barrier trials as she works her way to earning her apprentice’s ticket to ride.
She also rides both Clever Hans and Sarah’s Son in work and believes they are at their best for today’s big Cup and Lightning assignments at Quirindi.
“Taylah rides both in work,” Davies said. “She doesn’t let anyone get near them.”
She started her official apprenticeship about six months ago.
“I’ve ridden in two and a half trials,” she said with a laugh.
“I reached the barriers with Clever Hans.”
He was scratched from that trial which leaves Gray with 18 more barrier trials to complete before HNWRA stewards will consider giving her a licence to ride.
“I love it,” she said at the Davies Racing Stables on Thursday.
“They’re both all right,” she said of Clever Hans and Sarah’s Son.
Her younger brother, Bradie, was in the rodeo news last weekend too, winning junior events at Bendemeer’s annual rodeo and campdraft.
Weighing in at just 39kg, Taylah also has some weight to gain before she starts riding.
Fawke weighs in at about 50kg.
Of Filipino extraction, he is a nephew of leading jockey Jim Byrne and said his uncle had helped him out greatly.
From Brisbane, he started his apprenticeship with veteran trainer Pat Duff at Deagon.
He has ridden five winners in 34 rides so far.
“I’m going to Moree on Saturday,” he said this week.
“I have four rides out there.”
That’s including resuming Old Drover in the Moree Cotton Cup.
Like Gray, he loves the riding and is eager to begin his HNWRA career.
Davies believes he will make it and has been impressed by his work ethic and attitude.
He’s also hoping to celebrate that with victories in today’s $35,000 Akubra Sky Gold Quirindi Cup (1600m) and $25,000 Julie Green Real Estate Lightning Handicap (1100m).
Two years ago he won both with Prussian Secret and Sarah’s Son and hopes to repeat today although Clever Hans has “drawn out” in barrier 12.
“I have to leave it to Kody (Nestor),” Davies said.
“It’s a bad start (1600m) at Quirindi – he’ll try to go forward and slot in somewhere,” he said.
“It’s not that overly strong a race though.
“Pitt Street is an obvious danger after drawing one.
“Blinkin’ Easy is always thereabouts and ran a good third in the Walcha Cup to Pitt Street.
“Fox Solid also goes good – ran second at Orange over 1600m and the start before that beat Spectacular Iam over 1000m at Wellington.”