$600 in Bonus Bets
Get your first bet matched with up to $600 in bonuses*
$500 Bonus Bet
Sign-up, deposit $500 & receive $500 in bonus bets. That's $1000 to bet with!*
$500 Matched Deposit
Sign-up and get your first deposit matched with up to $500 in bonus bets*
$500 in Bonus Bets
Sign-up and get your first bet matched with up to $500 in bonus bets*
*Conditions Apply. Excl VIC, NSW, SA & WA. Gamble Responsibly

For apprentice Alex Stokes, it was a choice between medical school or racing’s school of hard knocks.

Stokes says the inspiration to become a jockey came from watching the movie Phar Lap when she was four.

After starting a casual job in the stables in year 10, Stokes waited until finishing high school before following her dream.

“I wanted to ride in the big races so I thought I’d give it a go as an apprentice,” the 23-year-old says.

“It was either that or study medicine.”

However, as a young female in a male-dominated industry, Stokes initially struggled to find a trainer to take her on.

She finally found support in Newcastle trainer Steve Hodge.

Almost three years later and with 97 wins under her belt, Stokes has proved she’s up to the job.

She is the only apprentice, and the only female, with a ride in the feature sprint race of the two-day Newcastle carnival.

Stokes will be aboard the Paul Perry-trained gelding Prince Braeman in the $150,000 Group Three Cameron Handicap, in which he finished second last year.

The race distance has been increased 200m since then, which she thinks will work in her favour.

“The 1500 should suit him a lot more,” she says.

She wasn’t expecting the ride.

“Paul asked me the other morning if I had any other big races planned for Newcastle. Then he said, if Prince Braeman draws all right, I’ll put you on him.

“It was a big shock.”

She says becoming a jockey is no easy ride.

“The first 12 months were hard. It was a big struggle getting rides because a lot of trainers didn’t want female apprentices,” she says.

Stokes was frustrated to see male apprentices who had started at the same time as her getting bigger and better opportunities.

“But in the end I just kept my head down and focused on work and started riding lots for Paul Perry. He’s been fantastic and given me the opportunities.”

She hopes to retain the support of local Newcastle trainers once her apprenticeship wraps up in May next year.

“I think every jockey wants to go on to bigger and better things, but if I can still get the support (from Hodge and Perry) then I’ll be grateful for that.

“The plan is to keep doing what I’m doing, keep my head down and stay focused.”

AAP TURF

 
$600 in Bonus Bets
Sign-up and get your first bet matched with up to $600 in bonus bets*
*Conditions Apply. Excl VIC, NSW, SA & WA. Gamble Responsibly
  • DEPOSIT $500
    start betting
    with
    $1000*
    CLAIM NOW
  • first bet
    matched
    up to
    $600*
    CLAIM NOW
  • DEPOSIT $50
    start betting
    with
    $200*
    CLAIM NOW
  • first bet
    matched
    up to
    $500*
    CLAIM NOW
*Conditions Apply. Excl VIC, NSW, SA & WA. Gamble Responsibly
* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article exclude NSW residents.
Featured News

Over $5,000 in Bonus Free Bets

Just Horse Racing provides readers with the best Free Bet offers available at every online bookmaker in Australia during the...

Serial biter So Si Bon to be gelded

Serial biter So Si Bon will race on with his owners deciding to have him gelded. So Si Bon was...

Boom 3YO sold to Hong Kong

Boom Queensland 3YO Weona Nicconi has been sold to Hong Kong on the back of two ultra impressive wins at...

Prince Of Caviar set to race on Saturday

The association between jockey Luke Nolen and the connections of Black Caviar is set to continue as Prince Of Caviar...

Black Caviar’s Oscietra retired

Black Caviar’s first foal to race ‘Oscietra’ has officially been retired. Oscietra on face value did not live up to...

 
 
 
Copyright © 2017 Just Horse Racing.
All rights reserved.

Gamble Responsibly 18+
*State exclusions apply to some offers. Please check T&Cs of each offer with the bookmaker. All Offers Exclude NSW residents.