The persuasive powers of trainer Wade Slinkard helped set up a fairytale city debut for apprentice Claire Nutman aboard Footy Fan at Rosehill on Saturday.
Until last week, the 3kg claimer was only allowed to ride on out-of-town tracks but was given special permission to come to Rosehill to ride the mare she had steered to three previous wins.
Indentured to her father Richard at Hawkesbury, the 22-year-old also rides work for her neighbour Slinkard who has faith in her abiity.
“We had to get permission for Claire to ride and I’m very proud,” Slinkard said.
“Her finish isn’t perfect yet but that will come.”
Nutman’s start and finish looked perfect to punters who backed Footy Fan from $7 to $5 equal favouritism in the PJ’s Irish Pub Handicap (1500m).
She took the mare straight to the front and kept her going to the line 1-1/4 lengths ahead of Fast And Sexy ($18) with a short head to Arms Length ($61) who made an eye-catching run from back in the field.
Nutman admitted to a few nerves before the race and also admitted to having a look at herself on the big screen near the winning post.
“I was surprised that I got to the front so easily,” Nutman said.
“She travelled so well in the run and I did get to have a look at the screen.”
Nutman is the granddaughter of popular race caller Paul Ambrosoli and has been riding for 11 months.
Chief steward Ray Murrihy said it was always the practice to make sure apprentices had the necessary experience to compete in town.
“Every apprentice has to be approved,” he said.
“Claire is still learning and we need to be careful that we do the right thing.”
The next step for Nutman could be an even bigger stage with Slinkard planning to set the mare for the greys’ race at Flemington on Oaks day in November.