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Clarken Racing | Clarken Racing News 53964 Price Claims Top Gong At Sa Apprentice Awards

Price claims top gong at SA Apprentice Awards

Price claims top gong at SA Apprentice Awards

Rising star Ben Price has been crowned the Dux of the Racing SA Apprentice Academy after riding more winners than any other apprentice in South Australia in 2022. His consistently high standards including two metro trebles at Morphettville, earned Price the prestigious honour just ahead of the fast finishing Teagan Voorham.

“Ben is a natural born competitor and his overall consistency throughout the year riding winners has set the bar very high,” said Racing SA Apprentice Academy Master Briony Moore.

“He was one of our busiest apprentices and finished with 74 winners for the year. That combined with the fact that Ben was in the running to win the John Letts Medal up until the last month of counting just behind Kayla Crowther, Paul Gatt and Barend Vorster speaks volumes about the level he’s been riding at.

“Obviously with Will Clarken as his Master, Ben gets to ride for the state’s biggest stables and his execution around those bigger stables has been top notch making him a worthy winner,” she said. 

The other big winner on the night was third year apprentice Alana Livesey who won three awards. With a season leading strike rate of 15% she was honoured with the award for Best Winning Strike Rate, was named the Rising Star 2nd & 3rd Year Apprentice, and presented the Endeavour & Sportsmanship Award by the Minister for Sport, Recreation and Racing, Katrine Hildyard MP.

“Alana is the quintessential hard worker, who rolls her sleeves up and just wants to get better and better,” said Racing SA Jockey Coach Dean Pettit.

“You can only dream of having 15 Alanas in an Academy. Her work ethic, and her desire to get better is second to none. She sets a very high standard of critique for herself, but is very professional, speaks well, and I think she has got plenty of admirers in the jockey room and outside of the jockey room for how she conducts herself.

“Alana had a nasty ankle injury that forced her to have the best part of five months off to start the year, and beyond that she has almost surpassed everyone on numbers and figures. Each month her numbers got better and stronger, and she has put herself in a position where I can say the younger apprentices are looking and saying that’s what I want to be, and it’s a credit to her,” he said.

Also at the TAB Apprentice Awards evening at Morphettville on Thursday night, Jade Doyle won the SA Racehorse Owners Association (SAROA) Award, Sophie Logan won the Caitlin Forrest Memorial Award selected by the Forrest Family. A new addition this year was the Ride of the Year award which also went to Logan for her victory on Montign for trainer Stuart Padman.

Britney Wong won the Simone Montgomerie 1st year Apprentice Award, and Ellis Wong rode the Longest Priced Winner paying $71 on Case Closed at Port Augusta.

Along with being named Dux and riding the most academy winners, Price shared the Special Achievement Award with Voorham who finished the year on a high winning two listed races.

“We are coming off an incredible 2022, where our apprentices went from holding 20% of the average market booking to now averaging 39%, which shows the faith the owners and trainers have in our riders,” said Moore.

“Overall the 21 apprentices riding under the banner of Racing SA enjoyed 5800 race rides, and combined for 540 winners and 1100 placings.

“We have great depth in the Academy and there is every reason to be excited about this young crop of riders coming through,” she said.


ICYMI - Galaxy Patch runs a smashing second in the Hong Kong Derby

  A $50,000 Adelaide Magic Million purchase by Will Clarken, Suman Hedge Bloodstock and David Jolly the son of Wandjina was purchased with Hong Kong in mind. After winning impressively on debut at Morphettville, Hong Kong was on the radar.   Instantly the gelding made his presence felt in Hong Kong winning on debut he then went on to win three further races following an unplaced run on the all weather track. Going into the Hong Kong Derby he was second at Group One level against California Spangle. The step up to 2000 metres was a question mark having previously only ran over the sprint trips.   From the big raw lad we purchased at the Adelaide Magic Millions in 2021 it is such a pleasure to see the vision we had almost become a reality on international shores.   Galaxy Patch became the second horse selected at the Adelaide Magic Millions by Will to reach the Hong Kong Derby after Prawn Baba a $20,000 purchase placed seventh in 2017.

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Kuroyanagi's spring goals

South Australian filly Kuroyanagi will spell in Victoria after a terrific run to finish third in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield, with her trainers already looking ahead to further elite-level targets in the spring. Niki O'Shea, who co-trains with Will Clarken, said the filly could head towards Guineas options later this year, having shown a great deal of raw talent in just her first racing preparation. "It was great, she was fantastic," O'Shea said. "When she came off the bit early, I thought we were in big trouble, so I was just happy that she did what she did. "On Sunday morning you wouldn't have known she'd had a run. She's actually going to stay there, she's gone to the paddock at one of those nice places down at Mornington." Clarken and O'Shea were not sure where Kuroyanagi would get to in her first preparation, with the view the $390,000 Written Tycoon filly will be a superior three-year-old galloper. "We've hardly trained her really, she's just done it under her own steam, we nearly put her in the paddock three or four times and she just kept pointing us in the right direction," O'Shea said. "He (Brenton Avdulla) said she was just green, ran off the corner and ran around the place, she's still six months away. He said she might even be a Guineas-type of horse, she's got the big action and she'll only keep improving."Story from Tim Yeatman

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Clarken ‘blown away' by his Blue Diamond filly

Blue Diamond contender Kuroyanagi is doing things Will Clarken has never seen before. The Group 1-winning trainer is astounded by the physical development of the talented filly and her appetite for work, confident she's going to run a big race in Saturday's $2m feature at Caulfield. Clarken has been open about the fact he's been searching for an excuse to tip Kuroyanagi out, convinced she's going to be even better as a three-year-old, but she's just thriving. "It's amazing. Me and (co-trainer) Niki (O'Shea) are just blown away by what she's done," Clarken said. "I could send people a video of her first gallop this prep and you'd just think it was a different horse. The way she's improved and the way she can handle pressure in a preparation is phenomenal. "I've never had a juvenile who has strengthened and developed in work. Week-to-week she's getting bigger and stronger and more durable. She's a ferocious doer and nothing fazes her. "I haven't dealt with a lot of really good young horses like this but she's just obviously got a great constitution." Kuroyanagi first came to prominence in early January when superstar jockey Jamie Kah made a rare visit home to South Australia to ride her to a dominant victory in a jumpout at Murray Bridge. She went on to win her debut in soft fashion at Gawler before an agonising second across the border in the Group 2 Blue Diamond Prelude for fillies earlier this month. "She's just come home and thrived. I haven't had one travel back and handle it so well for a long time," Clarken said. "That was our main concern as it was the first trip away for a young horse but she's put on weight, she's really above herself and he work has been terrific – we've been able to get two good gallops into her." With Kah and Blake Shinn, who partnered Kuroyanagi in the Prelude, opting to go elsewhere, Clarken was left searching for a suitable rider and he was watching a recent Sha Tin meeting when it hit him that Brenton Avdulla would be perfect. "I like to keep an eye on Hong Kong racing because we've got a small pool of horses over there now and he's riding so well," he said. "I was going through options, I asked a couple of Sydney guys and they had rides up there, so I said to (racing manager) Lachie (Weekley) ‘why don't you ask (Avdulla)'? "We watched him ride a double at the Chinese New Year meeting and I thought ‘imagine getting him on, it'd be awesome'." Kuroyanagi is rated an $18 hope with the TAB and Clarken thinks that presents good value. "The gate (two) to me is not ideal, I would've liked to have drawn out a little bit, but we've got the gun riding her, so that will help," he said "If she gets a little luck in running, I think she's a genuine each-way chance. "It's hard to say that going into big Group 1s but she has trained on remarkably well."

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