Off the mark

Samantha Fletcher became the first of the latest batch of three female apprentices to win a race

Observer writer

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

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SAMANTHA Fletcher became the first of the three female apprentices among the batch of 21 young riders who graduated from Jamaica Racing Commission Jockeys' Training School on September 29 to ride a winner at Caymanas Park.

Fletcher's maiden win came aboard the Junior Panton-owned and trained Copperfield in the 9th race on the 11-race programme. She won at odds of 14-1 over three furlongs (600m) straight in a time of 36.0. Fletcher brought Copperfield from behind to beat Awesome Cat and Machu Picchu by half-a-length.

“I must say that I am feeling very excited with my first win at this stage as an apprentice rider with aspirations of becoming a competent jockey.

“The win was especially pleasing to me as it was one that I had to work, for at one stage it looked out of my reach.

“But, I am a fighter and the win came at a time when I began to despair and, perhaps if I did not have that fortitude of inner strength, the single-mindedness of that abiding quality of purpose to continue to strive in this chosen field of horse racing perhaps, I would have become less focused and also less determined to continue to put in the hard work.

“The manner of today's (Saturday) victory is a demonstration of what perseverance produces. In life and in a male-dominated sport, you have to come forward and work harder than the male to get the rides as a competent female, for when it is your time, it is just your time,” Fletcher said.

Fletcher further pointed out that her first win is an important motivator for her “as it prompts me to come earlier, to work much harder than some males do, so as to be seriously considered by trainers for them to develop confidence in your work ethic and to provide you with some of the better rides.”

Adding: “For me, it is the riders who get the more rides and the better mounts who seem to get the job done properly. In every activity practice is the key to proficiency.”

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