Kiwi apprentice keen to stay
THABEBAN Park has provided a launching pad for the careers of many top jockeys and it may have provided another future star a stepping stone at the Bundaberg Boxing Day meeting.
Mature-aged New Zealand apprentice Bridget Floyd rode her first race winner aboard Magic Turbo in the XXXX Gold Class B Handicap.
The 27-year-old, who hails from the Bay of Plenty region in the north island of New Zealand, had six race rides in her home-land before moving to the beautiful Sunshine Coast "eight or nine weeks ago".
She had been unsuccessful in her first five races in Australia - at Beaudesert, Gympie and Gayndah - and had never been to Bundaberg before.
Floyd had four rides at the Bundaberg meeting - all for local trainer Mary Hassam - and she broke through in the first event on the program.
While her fortunes waned after that, claiming third on Queen of Happiness, then finishing well back on both Private Chat and Brace for Impact, Floyd said it would be a day she would always remember.
The stylish rider said she had been around horses all her life, but only became apprenticed to Graeme Rogerson, one of Australasia's leading racehorse trainers, "just over two years ago".
"I've been on horses since I was born - I used to do a lot of showjumping and eventing and I did a lot of training and breaking as well before I linked with Graeme," she said.
"But it took a lot of time and hard work before I got to ride in a race, but now I am on loan to Robert Wilson at Caloundra for three months, and I'm loving it."
Beyond that, Floyd is unsure where her future lies.
"I just want to kick on now, and I think I'll stay in Australia even though I've got no relatives here," she said.
"I may transfer back to Graeme's Sydney operation, but it may be better to stay in Queensland for a while longer because I may get more opportunities here at this stage, especially with my 4kg allowance."
Floyd said, despite being associated with some of Rogerson's New Zealand-based champions during her time with the master trainer, she had never accompanied any of them across the Tasman for their raids on the various big races in Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane.
But she said it had been great being so close to horses such as 2011 Queensland Oaks winner Scarlett Lady.
And her success fuelled the apprentice jockey's desire to go all the way to the top in a tough industry.