By Andrew Adermann
Adin Thompson has taken Queensland to the top of the National Apprentice Race Series leaderboard with a strong win in yesterday’s heat at Ascot Racecourse.
The 18-year-old steered home the $4.80 Picture Perfect with the most patient of rides around the famous Western Australian course after settling back of midfield for most of the run.
Thompson was squeezed back to near last at the 800 metre mark but waited for his gap to open up in the straight, flashing home and taking the lead with less than 100 metres to score a comfortable one-length win.
“It’s great to come here even just for the one ride and to win, it makes it worth the trip,” Thompson said post-race.
“Me and Shane (Scriven), we talked about the race planning for hours and it did work out fairly as planned until about the 800 mark and they started taking off and leaving me behind a little bit.
“I was told if they take off don’t pressure him, just let him grab the bit by himself and then go for him.”
Scriven, a five-time Group 1 winning jockey, now serves as Racing Queensland’s senior apprentice coach, working with the state’s up-and-coming stars and chaperoning them across the country for the NARS.
“It was a great day for Adin and a great day for the series,” Scriven said.
“The apprentices really look forward to it each year, and we get to go around most of Australia.
“We’ve expanded it to make it international now with Singapore and New Zealand here and the apprentices get unbelievable exposure and knowledge out of it.
“As Adin said, we did a fair bit of homework on this, judging by the horse’s form and what he’d done we knew he was on a live chance.
“He rode fantastic, it was a 10/10 ride and that’s what you have to do to win races.
“Even for Adin to sit in the room beside Willie (Pike), they had a bit of a chat and that’s just a little bit of what they will take out of it – that experience.”
Thompson singled out the ‘Wizard of the West’, William Pike, as his hero from a riding perspective, so meeting him and wearing the famous pink silks that Pike regularly dons was arguably Adin’s highlight of the day.
“Just to be able to have a talk with him, I normally get really nervous going to speak with the ‘big dogs’ but they are just normal people and he was happy to help me out so it was great,” Thompson said.
“They’re all great people, and getting to go to different places and meeting different jockeys and having a chat about what they think, it’s really good.”
The series now heads east to Doomben next Wednesday for third round where Thompson will be joined by prominent Queensland apprentices including Baylee Nothdurft and Stephanie Thornton in attempting to consolidate the state’s position atop of the leaderboard.
Find out more about the National Apprentice Jockey Series.