Trainer Glenn Thornton is showing faith in his apprentice daughter Stephanie who makes her metropolitan debut at Sandown.
On Wednesday she will partner stable runners Miss Universe in the Schweppes Handicap and Volcan De Fuego in the Le Pine Funerals Handicap having ridden 41 winners from 406 rides on Victorian country tracks and in Tasmania.
Her jockey brothers Damien and Boris followed a similar path with Damien now the Adelaide stable rider for Tony McEvoy and Boris apprenticed to Danny O’Brien.
Thornton said his daughter, who had a stint riding for Ed Dunlop at Newmarket earlier in the year, had made giant steps in recent months and was ready for her metropolitan debut.
“I thought it was the right time, the right horses and the right races for Steph to come to town,” Thornton said.
“I think she’s really starting to grasp what is expected to take that next step.”
Thornton said sending his daughter to Tasmania, as he had with her brothers, was to gain experience through bigger books of rides.
He said she gained confidence riding a double at Launceston last month.
“I think the best thing with racing there is the kids can get five, six and seven rides a meeting whereas here they really struggle unless they’re associated with a big stable,” Thornton said.
“It’s a good grounding for them and some good jockeys have come out of Tasmania like Craig Newitt and Luke Currie.
“It helped Boris going there and I think it will help Steph.”
Thornton, who is based at Geelong, says it is almost time for Stephanie to transfer to a bigger stable as he doesn’t have the numbers, but it was important he first showed faith by giving her city rides.
He said Miss Universe would strip fitter for her last-start third at Geelong on April 30.
“She’s drawn a good gate and has a drop in class and I reckon she’ll run super,” Thornton said.
Volcan De Fuego is aiming for three straight wins following victories at Geelong and Kilmore.
“Early on we had high hopes for him but he got a bout of colic and required surgery,” Thornton said.
“He’s taken a bit to get back but he’s starting to show signs of getting back to where we thought he might be.
“It’s a jump up in grade but he’s got a massive weight drop which I think is really important.”