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Apprentice Claire Ramsbotham looks north

15 May 2024

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Deagon | Brisbane Racing Club @ Deagon | 10:50 AM


By Jordan Gerrans

Claire Ramsbotham calls the Northern Rivers home and will kick-off her riding journey in New South Wales but the apprentice hoop will soon become a familiar name in the Sunshine State.

The 21-year-old has completed the majority of her required jump-outs and trials north of the border in Queensland, including riding at Deagon’s trial session on Tuesday morning of this week.

She is indentured to top trainer Matthew Dunn who often brings his team to race in Queensland.

When Ramsbotham does have her first ride on Thursday at Grafton, it will be aboard a horse that is raced by one of Queensland’s biggest owners - Ian Corazzol.

The emerging hoop hails from Victoria and has had a stop in Sydney on her journey to living at Murwillumbah and she believes her current location provides her the best of both worlds.

“I know Queensland quite well and it is good where I am located in Murwillumbah because I am able to go Queensland and NSW,” she said.

“It opens up more opportunities for me.

“Out here is great, and it’s a great place to be, and if you want the city, the Gold Coast is just up the road.”

Ramsbotham’s first appearance at the races has been a long time coming.

She has been set to debut for the past fortnight but has had two meetings on the Northern Rivers called off, which delayed proceedings.

The young hoop heads to Clarence River Jockey Club on Thursday with three rides for her boss Dunn.

The 54kg rider has been under Dunn’s guidance for the last four months after making the move north from Randwick where she worked for Ron Quinton.

Matthew Dunn Next Racing
Torque Of Dreams

As well as Quinton and Dunn’s leadership, Ramsbotham has been aided in her pursuit of her riding dreams by her partner Brodie Loy, who also works for the Murwillumbah stable.

Loy was a four-time stakes-winning jockey until he pulled the pin on his race riding days after constantly battling with his weight.

The 27-year-old Loy has now turned his hand to mentoring and training other jockeys for a day job – as well as riding work in the morning – with his partner one of his protégées.

As Ramsbotham did not grow up around the racing caper and has only come into the industry after finishing high school, she says Loy has been instrumental in her career development.

“He has been my main supporter, he has helped me with everything,” she said.

“As I do not come from a racing background and do not know much about racing, he has definitely taught me and is still teaching me the ins and outs of it all.

“He has taught me about diet and exercise, keeping me fit and healthy throughout all this.

“The riding side of it all, he obviously rides for Matt in the morning as well so we gallop together most mornings, which helps me out heaps.

“He has turned me into the rider I am today with all his help – he is great.”

Former jockey Brodie Loy.

Loy and Ramsbotham have a mechanical horse at their home which they often use to hone the young hoop’s skill set.

Ramsbotham says Loy is content in retirement from race riding – with his final event being in the middle of March - and is happy with what he is doing now.

The debutant rider has risen through the ranks sharply after not ever considering becoming a jockey just a couple of years ago.

She did a lot of show jumping in her teenage years and took a job at a racing stable at Hawkesbury after completing her studies, which opened the door to a career in the saddle.

It has been a whirlwind for Ramsbotham as she has only worked in the industry for around 18 months.

“I feel great and really confident, I am 100 per cent prepared,” she said of her first race rides.

“I have been waiting for this for a long time. I am a little bit nervous but more so excited more than anything.

“I have progressed through it all pretty fast and it helps having that riding background.”

Trainer Matthew Dunn.

Torque Of Dreams, Casebolt and Mission Ridge are her maiden rides this Thursday, all of which are prepared by Dunn.

“They should all run a pretty good race,” she said.

“Torque Of Dreams was always going to be my first ride in the last two meetings as well.

“I rode her (Torque Of Dreams) quite a bit at the start of this prep, and I’ve ridden her here and there throughout the prep. They should be competitive and I think my best ride will be Casebolt.

“They should all run a pretty good race and with my four kilogram claim as well, that will help them out.”

With more country race meetings in Queensland compared to Northern NSW, Ramsbotham says she will look north for rides in the coming months at the early stages of her apprenticeship.