Wendy Peel has piloted Thermosa to each of his three career wins but missed out on riding Rodney Robb’s leading contender in Sunday’s Country Championships qualifier at Dubbo Turf Club.
She could be forgiven for feeling frustrated by that decision but the promising apprentice is anything but.
Instead, she’s thrilled to be given the ride on another of Robb's hopes in Sunday’s event.
As apprentices can’t claim in the Country Championships it’s rare for them to be given rides in the qualifiers or final.
Peel is one of just two apprentices who will ride in Sunday’s $150,000 Western Racing Association heat, the other being Chris Williams on the Clint Lundholm-trained Ben Shoof.
Peel will be in the saddle of Mango Liston, a gelding from Nyngan coming off a clinical win at Geurie last weekend.
“It’s certainly really exciting to be given an opportunity,” the Tamworth-based hoop said.
“Apprentices can’t claim in this particular race so it’s a bit of an honour and I’m very grateful to Rodney Robb and the connections for giving me the chance.”
It’s easy to see why Robb gave Peel the job.
While she has won with Thermosa in the past the gelding can be a tricky racehorse to control, leading the Nyngan trainer to turn to the vastly experienced Mathew Cahill to take the sit on the $6 hope.
But Peel has impressed early in her career, with 56 wins to her name already.
She has also won multiple heats of the Rising Star series for apprentices this season and has already contested a number of feature events, and ridden trebles and doubles at various meetings.
“I don’t hold any grudges after riding Thermosa to three of his wins,” Peel said.
“He’s a tricky horse and he’s Rodney’s best chance.”
Mango Liston is more of an outside chance, but a chance nonetheless.
A picnic event at Geurie may not seem like the most attractive lead-up event but the four-year-old gelding caught the eye that day with a handy turn of foot.
That late speed will be on Sunday when Peel and Mango Liston jump from a wide draw.
“He’s been hitting the line really well,” Peel said, adding the faith Robb and his team have shown in her is a real boost.
“It certainly gives me a lot of confidence. I do a lot of miles and a lot of work and to get these opportunities is fantastic.”
Sunday’s qualifier jumps at 4.30pm.