Horse Racing

'I took my time to learn' – apprentice Shavon Townsend

BY HURBUN WILLIAMS
Observer writer

Friday, October 12, 2018

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SHAVON Townsend became the third apprentice who recently graduated from the Jamaica Racing Commission Jockey's School to win a race when he piloted home Laguna Point i n the fourth on Saturday.

Townsend showed capable hands in taking his mount to victory over the four-furlong (800m) straight course with Laguna Point covering the trip in 47.1.

“It is not that I never expected it. This victory came later than anticipated, but now that it is here it just helps to settle my nerves and add a little inspiration, for it is a profession I love dearly as it is not easy to ride winners, but I am prepared to put in the hard work and see how well it turns out in my favour.

“Caymanas is a single complex with numerous good riders and not a lot of horses, which does not make it easy to always get the good rides, but with dedication, hopefully, I will like to see myself winning two or three jockeys' championships within the next 10 years,” Townsend expressed.

Townsend then shared how he got into racing.

“I was always passionate about racing, so one day I decided to come to Caymanas to see what it had to offer a willing and industrious young man. The first stable that I went to was that of Carl Anderson on April 11, 2013.

“As an apprentice, I started by picking stalls, helped with the cleaning of horses along with other meaningful activities.

“To begin my activities with horses, I started by walking them around the ring, then the next step was climbing on a horse,” he shared.

This was a nervous experience for Townsend but with time it became normal for him.

“I would walk the horses around the ring and when I gained sufficient confidence, I let them trot off and tried to get balance. Then when I saw that it was working for me, I started to saddle by myself, then mount up all by myself, as I was determined to become a jockey,” he shared.

Townsend then revealed that some trainers saw him and asked him to exercise horses.

“It took me about a year and a half to reach the stage where I could handle myself aboard a horse with efficiency,” he revealed.

During those defining years it was not easy for him. Townsend said he had gone to Caymanas Park for a single purpose to become a jockey — and despite of the hardship encountered, he was going to do so.

“With time my confidence grew and I took my time to learn more and more. I went on for the next four to five years and I graduated from the stables of Richard Azan as my apprentice master,” he said.

Now, the young man is a winner.

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