Mature-age apprentice continues ride of her life on Miracle filly
ADELAIDE trainer Daniel Clarken on Friday defended his decision to leave his stable apprentice on board Blue Diamond favourite Miracles Of Life in Saturday's listed $120,000 Blue Diamond Preview (1000 metres) for fillies at Caulfield.
Clarken said it had been a ''unanimous'' decision between himself and the owners of the unbeaten juvenile to have 29-year-old Lauren Stojakovic hold the ride after the apprentice had ridden Miracles Of Life at her only two race starts, both in South Australia.
Clarken said the Blue Diamond Preview would be a far tougher test for Stojakovic and Miracles Of Life but was content with the decision.
The horseman said Iris O'Farrell, the racing manager for Teeley Assets Ltd, which own Miracles Of Life, told him: ''Everybody deserves a chance like this in life and this is hers.''
Clarken said he backed O'Farrell's decision and supports the move, but added that he knew horse and rider would be ''jumping in at the deep end'' on Saturday.
''It will be a lot harder,'' he said. ''We have spoken about what to expect and Lauren said that she was surprised about the amount of early speed there could be in the race.
''Lauren is very dedicated and has done most of the work with Miracles Of Life. She's been a mature-age apprentice and has been with me for four years, but has been held back because of endless injuries and let's hope that is behind her now.''
Stojakovic was told earlier this week that she had been given the chance to continue her association with Miracles Of Life. It will be the biggest ride of her career and she knows it. But she is also certain that nerves will not be her undoing.
"On Monday, I was at first shocked to get the ride, then excited and then nervous," she said. "But yesterday I actually woke up and felt, 'I can do this, this will be OK', so as the days go on I'm feeling much more excited and less nervous. I guess I was always hopeful, but I didn't really think that they would choose to keep me on. But they have, so it's awesome."
Stojakovic knows the commitment is for Saturday only and that the Preview will not only tell a lot about her, but also Miracles Of Life.
"What she has done she's done so well. She hasn't just beaten them, she's really beaten them, so I think she's up to it.
"We are happy with the barrier draw [six]. She's an on-pace filly, but you let her do her own thing and she will put herself there, so I think from six she should get a nice position and hopefully all will be good."
Miracles Of Life, a $7 favourite for the Blue Diamond Stakes next month, left for Melbourne on Friday night after having to contend with heatwave conditions in the state.
''It's very hot over here, but the filly seems to have handled the conditions OK, but her next hurdle is being able to get over the trip from here to Melbourne,'' Clarken said.
''She has done very little travelling as her two race starts have been at home here and she's just got to walk over to the races. The only other time she has been in a float is to the two-year-old trials at Gawler when she was younger and we had no problem then.''
The Not A Single Doubt filly won her first start by more than five lengths. Next time out she bolted in by nine lengths in smart time.