Horse Racing

After two years in the saddle – the progress of the apprentices

BY OBSERVER RACING
WRITER

Friday, September 22, 2017

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In September of 2015, 17 apprentices completed their studies at the Jockeys' Training School and shortly thereafter officially started their careers as claiming appretices.

The Supreme Racing Guide examines the inevitable ups and downs that these riders have experienced since that time. The assessment is done in alphabetical order.

ONEIL BECKFORD – Every now and again he pops up.

NATALIE BERGER – Won one of the early exercise riders' races, but has not made a mark since she started officially, although getting regular rides. Berger has to be strong and dedicated if she is to be successful on the track.

DANE DAWKINS – This soft-spoken rider has shown a lot of consistency since he first saddled up. The winners have been coming without any particular gush or without too long a period of drought. Dawkins has really been honing his craft well, which has led to many rides and winners over the last two years. He seems to be here for the long haul and has no weight problems. As long as he maintains his hallmark consistency, he will continue to grow and do well. This quiet giant also made a good comeback after falling and getting injured. A quiet giant.

ODEEN EDWARDS – Like Linton Steadman, he started very well. Indeed, quite a rivalry developed between the two at the start of their careers. Edwards continued his good form up to about the middle of last year, then a rut set in and he has so far been unable to revive his fortunes.

AMOY GRAY – Rides fairly often, but without much success.

BEBETO HARVEY – Was a bit slow out of the starting gates then gathered significant pace in 2016, and at one stage was seriously challenging Omar Walker for the champion jockey title. Lost that particular race, but in the process established himself as a more than average rider. Much improvement was expected in 2017, but weight issues led to a decline which Harvey has not managed to overcome to this day. He linked up with his apprentice master Richard Azan from early in his career and the alliance produced many winners. Harvey has since moved to the stables of trainer Gary Subratie, but he fell into another rut. Right now he is desperately trying to find himself again, having been firmly planted in No Man's Land. Over the last month or so, Harvey has been finding it difficult to get rides, let alone winners. The young man needs to regroup, look at his options and make bold decisions if he is to remain and have an impact in the pigskin. Ninety winners in two years is nothing to scoff at, so the potential is obviously there.

JEROME INNIS – His progress has been affected by at least two falls. Still, Innis has a presence and with time may well show his true worth.

ROSHANE JOHNSON – Has never been a winning factor from day one.

KEMOY PARCHMENT – Has not troubled the racing statisticians apart from riding his one winner to date.

JAVANIEL PATTERSON – Blows hot and sometimes lukewarm, but is a constant in the winners' enclosure. Shows a lot of promise with no consideration about weight, and with even more hard work should be successful in the future.

HAKEEM POTTINGER – Came out well after training. Pottinger has, however, been stymied in his progress and has not won a race in a while. He is on the race programmes, but that's about it in recent times.

ANDRE POWELL – Slow starter who came to prominence at the beginning of this year when he began to ride a slew of winners. That tempo has dipped a bit, but Powell is still trying hard and has been relatively successful since. Powell is showing signs that he is going to be a journeyman jockey in the future.

ANDREE POWELL – Started slowly and took a while to notch her first winner. Then suddenly at the start of this year, she jumped into action with win after win. At one stage she was in the top 10 list of riders. Following that surge, things have slowed. But there is no doubt she will find many more winners. Powell is way ahead of her fellow ladies, Natalie Berger and Mellisa with 17 wins.

ONEIL SCOTT – Slowly but surely trying to find his rhythm.

ANTHONY THOMAS – The late bloomer and real surprise of the lot. Over the last two months, Thomas has been the dominant rider among his peers and even the seniors. Nowadays it has become commonplace for him to ride three-and four-timers. Thomas has impressed everyone with his calmness and dogged approach to his work. He has put out a lot at exercise and is now truly earning from his dedication. Developing well, needs to continue and build on his present momentum.

LINTON STEADMAN – Shot out of the gates with telling effect. The winners started to flow regularly, leading to Steadman winning the title of top apprentice for 2015. His ability in the saddle developed significantly in early to mid-2016. It was during that time that the young man forged a decisive partnership with top trainer Anthony Nunes. That combination led to Steadman riding Bigdaddykool to victory in the Lotto Classic and the Classic Jamaica St Leger. Steadman thus became the first of his apprentice lot to ride a Classic race winner. This season started well enough for Steadman, but weight problems have intervened. In an interview in this paper, Steadman candidly revealed the struggles he was having but stressed his commitment to deal with them. His stocks have declined in recent times owing to an absence of winners and an apparent parting of the ways with Nunes. But Steadman is a good horseman. If he can keep his weight in check, he will have a place among the country's better riders.

MELLISA WARD – Trying, really trying, but the winners are elusive.

APPRENTICES #of WINNERS
(Up to September 16, 2017)
Bebeto Harvey 90
Linton Steadman 81
Dane Dawkins 73
Javaniel Patterson 69
Odeen Edwards 45
Hakeem Pottinger 44
Anthony Thomas 42
Jerome Innis 40
Andre Powell 38
Andree Powell 17
Mellisa Ward 12
Oneil Beckford 10
Oneil Scott 9
Natalie Berger 4
Amoy Gray 3
Roshane Johnson 2
Kemoy Parchment 1

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