Is move to 'big smoke' on the cards for Zoe?
THE remarkable form of Rockhampton apprentice Zoe White has made me ponder the question - how long will it be before she moves to "the big smoke” to further her jockey career?
It's no secret that the 18-year-old has lofty ambitions and a move to Brisbane is inevitable with links already established with the powerful Tony Gollan stable through White's master, Tim Cook.
The million-dollar question is - just when is the right time for a young talent to take the next step and when is too soon?
In recent years we have seen some boom young apprentice jockeys in Queensland leave the bush for the bright city lights and a couple of them have had their momentum derailed through poor lifestyle choices and decision making. On the subject of White, I had an interesting discussion with former top local hoop Wally Welburn.
Welburn was a leading rider here between 1966 and 2001, winning 13 Rockhampton Jockey Club jockey premierships.
He still rides regular track work and keeps a close eye on talent in the jockey ranks through his role at Callaghan Park on race days as clerk of scales.
I'd thought that White, who is in contention to become the first apprentice to win an RJC jockey title since Luke Dillon did so in 2009, may be best served focussing on that goal.
But Welburn had a different view and said relocating to Brisbane would be best for White's development as a rider.
"I'd like to see her have a crack down there sooner rather than later,” Welburn said.
"But she's got to go down there with a level head and be prepared to do the hard yards.
"She's got to be prepared to get beat and experience the downs before the ups.
"It would help her immensely being down there. It doesn't matter where you go, you follow the leading riders at that venue and learn from things they do because they're not the leading riders for nothing.”
White's master Cook said his apprentice was likely to see out the current season based in Rockhampton and might get some south-east Queensland provincial rides during that time.
If White could win an RJC jockey title as an apprentice she would join a talented list of riders who have achieved the feat this century - Darryl Johnston (2001); Dale Evans (2002); Luke Dillon (2006; 2008; 2009) and Adrian Coome (2007).
ROCKHAMPTON trainer Tom Button bought a tried three-year-old Fastnet Rock colt from last Friday's Inglis 2016 Spring Thoroughbred Sale.
Button paid $14,000 for Al Hamees (dam Hamasat (GB)), a former John Thompson-trained galloper which was offered on account of Emirates Park, Murrurundi.
Fellow Rocky trainer John Wigginton may wait until next preparation to take his well-performed galloper Ziza Spirit, a Callaghan Park Class 6 Plate winner during the week, to Brisbane.
"Off season he might win down there but not this preparation,” the trainer said.
"I think he'll be better next prep. He didn't race until he was a three-year-old and he's still learning.”
A former Victorian, Ziza Spirit (Denman - Soul Diva) has won five races from 10 starts in Capricornia since joining the in-form Wigginton yard.
IT MAY pay for punters to keep an eye on Tuesday's Rocky winner Rooi Roe who is putting together a good record having won three of her four career starts.
Roma trainer Craig Smith has an opinion of the three-year-old filly (Bel Esprit - Rustic Rossa), so much so that he has made comparisons with his Brisbane city winner Performia.
"I reckon this filly is better than Performia at the same age,” Smith said.
"She's a bit hot-headed but that's the Bel Esprit coming out in her.
"I might give her one more and then give her a go at a mid-week race in Brisbane.”
Magic Millions 2017 Gold Coast Yearling Sale (January 11-15) catalogues are available from the RJC office.
Racing returns to Callaghan Park next Saturday for the Our Boy Malachi farewell race day.