Jess Taylor ends apprenticeship on high after French Fern win

Jess Taylor ended her apprenticeship on the best possible note – and preserved a quirky riding statistic – when engineering the downfall of a couple of well fancied colts on flourishing two-year-old French Fern.

Set to end her apprenticeship on Thursday, Taylor maintained a rare piece of riding history in having booted home all her Saturday metropolitan winners at the rarely used Canterbury, which hosts just a couple of weekend meetings a year.

In the pink: Jess Taylor rides French Fern to victory in the Schweppes Handicap.
In the pink: Jess Taylor rides French Fern to victory in the Schweppes Handicap. Photo:

While she might not have enjoyed the success she craves at Randwick and Rosehill, Taylor proved she is more than at home around the tight-turning Canterbury after David Payne's $20,000 yearling purchase led from barrier to box to sink favourites Detective and Godolphin's debutant Dissolute.

"I'll try to keep the rides up and stay in the city if I can, but I'm not afraid to do a bit of travelling in the bush if I have to," said Taylor, whose career winners have soared past the 150 mark. "I'd love to stay in the city and ride winners."

Mark de Montfort's apprentice never really had any cause for concern after punching up to hold the lead inside of Dissolute, which weakened to finish third in the five-horse field.

Detective, which smashed its head on the gate before Christmas, meaning connections had to abandon any plans of joining stablemate Capitalist in the Magic Millions Classic on the Gold Coast, wound up late to finish three-quarters of a length from the winner in second.


"I thought when Sam Clipperton came up outside of me he put a bit of pressure on, but she just kicked away," Taylor said.

"She's a really nice filly. She jumps well and puts herself in the race and relaxed super in front and showed a really nice turn of foot to hit the line strong."

Detective's rider, Paul King, one of just three senior jockeys to ride on Canterbury's apprentice-laden card, could offer no excuses for his mount, which was tardy away from the gates.

"When the winner went 'bang' I just didn't go 'bang' with her," King said. "He really is a horse that looks like he's looking for 1400 to 1600 metres and he will probably be a better three-year-old."

Dissolute's rider, Sam Clipperton, told stewards he expected more of his mount, which was backed into $2.50 favouritism on track.

"He jumped really quick and just couldn't keep up with himself," Clipperton said. "I thought he would have done a bit more. It was a soft track – or maybe a testing track – and he's probably knocked up."