A relationship formed on country tracks has brought apprentice Chelsea Hall to Sandown for her first metropolitan ride.
The 25-year-old rides Chat To Maggie in the Bushnell Outdoor Products Handicap on Wednesday, having ridden the mare to four wins, including three from her past five starts.
“I probably would have waited a little longer but I know this horse so well,” Hall said.
“I’ve had four wins on her and ridden her in most of her starts so she’s a great first ride to have in town.”
Unlike a lot of other female apprentices, Hall came into racing without a background in riding horses.
She said it was something she fell into while biding her time to join the police force.
Beginning work in the stables of Heath Connors at Geelong, Hall graduated to an apprenticeship with Terry O’Sullivan at Stawell and over the past six weeks has been on loan to John Moloney at Caulfield.
“Having no horse riding background at all when I started probably worked in my favour,” she said.
“People say it’s good because I didn’t have any bad habits to break out of but I missed a fair bit of the foundation of riding.”
Hall said her move to Melbourne was instigated to learn from the best.
“I thought about it a lot and talked about it with my apprentice coaches Matt Hyland and Matt Pumpa about the idea of going to town and that’s how I ended up with John Moloney on three months’ loan,” she said.
Hall has ridden 46 winners and said it was only hard work, which she hopes turns into winners, that would get her more rides.
Chat To Maggie is a $13 chance in early betting and has drawn awkwardly in barrier 11, but that doesn’t faze Hall.
“She likes to have room,” Hall said.
“It’s a step up in grade and it’s a challenge for her but she keeps beating better and better horses and I think she’s up to it.”