By Jordan Gerrans
After riding track work in a number of different states around Australia over many years, Townsville’s newest apprentice hoop Jenna Edwards was not sure if she would ever officially become a jockey.
Starting her apprenticeship in South Australia, the 23-year-old feared her career was going nowhere at times.
A move to North Queensland has done wonders for Edwards’ ambitions, re-starting her apprenticeship with the Sarah Acornley stable and making her debut at Ewan last Sunday afternoon.
Edwards started riding track work as a 14-year-old for her mum, Kaye Edwards, before gaining experience in South Australia and the Northern Territory, where she spent time with Acornley and her husband Carl Spry – who has been dual-licensed as a trainer and a jockey across his career.
“Once I started my apprenticeship, it was such a long process in South Australia and I think Carl was still my biggest supporter, he was the one I would always talk to for help all things racing,” Edwards said.
“In Adelaide, I thought it was just not going to happen, becoming a jockey, I was very unhappy and when Carl asked me to come to Townsville, it made sense.
“It was an easy decision because while I was not sure if I was going to be an apprentice, I just wanted to ride track work, do something I like and be happy again.
“I got the apprentice stuff rolling again and it has gone from there.”
Spry, who has relinquished his training duties of late to focus on his riding, believes Edwards has become an asset to the Cluden Park stable.
“It has worked out well with Jenna moving to Townsville about nine months ago,” Spry said.
“She always wanted to ride but never knew if she get the chance to do it as things just were not falling into place for her.
“She did everything right on her first ride for Johnny Manzelmann the other day.”