Victorian apprentice jockey Tahlia Hope is thriving on her recent hot streak as she prepares to take it a step further with the ride on top weight Ashdam in the Stan Sadleir Stakes (1400m) at Wagga on Friday.
Hope has ridden seven winners from her past 20 rides giving her a formidable strike-rate especially when she joins forces with Ashdam’s trainer Dan McCarthy.
Ashdam has returned home to Wangaratta after just one start in South Australia where he ran seventh on October 7.
“I have ridden him in track work and he is a lovely strong horse with a free running style,” Hope said.
“He is a big, solid horse and I feel he can carry the weight (60.5 kilograms) and be in the finish.”
Hope, who has ridden 51 winners, claims 1.5 kilograms and will have her sole Wagga ride on Ashdam.
The teenager is loving the opportunities that have been presented to her by McCarthy who has one of the best winning strike-rates at Wagga.
From their past six starters, they have shared three winners (two at Wagga with Pittsburgh), two seconds and one third.
Hope said her connection with McCarthy came through a stroke of luck.
“He didn’t have a rider for a horse in a jump out so I rode it and it started from there,” she said.
“I was out with an injury for six months and when I came back other jockeys had replaced me on some horses I would normally ride.
“It has taken time, but now is the best I have been going in my career.”
With success has also come a better understanding of race tactics which has seen Hope make the most of all of her chances.
Ashdam faces tough task against a strong line-up in the feature race but the teenager believes he can win from a suitable draw.
“I have watched the replays of his runs and with the right luck he can be in the finish,” she said.
“I only have the one ride so hopefully I can make the most of it.”