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Former plumber Darren McLeod has made the successful leap to race riding with a winner in a steeplechase in South Australia.

Having his first race ride, McLeod rode Pentelligentsia to victory in the FibreTrack Steeplechase (3360m) at Murray Bridge on Wednesday.

McLeod was a plumber up until six years ago before deciding on a career change.

He started riding trackwork for Nick Ryan, progressed to more riding instruction with Adrian Corboy at Wangaratta before honing his jumping craft under the guidance of champion rider Steve Pateman.

Ironically McLeod’s mount Pentelligentsia ($4.40 SB) led home the Pateman-ridden and trained $2.80 favourite Historic by 6-¼ lengths with Undergroundfighter ($6) a half-length away third.

Recently McLeod has based himself in Adelaide in a bid to get his ticket to ride in races and was appreciative to Pentelligentsia’s trainer Grant Young for giving him the opportunity.

McLeod was over the moon with his debut win.

“I was wondering what that would feel like, but it felt better,” McLeod told racing.com.

“I didn’t think anything like this would happen this quick and words can’t describe how happy I am.

“It’s been a long time in the making.

“If anyone knew the back story you wouldn’t think I’d get here this quick, or be even here at all.

“I’m very thankful for Grant chucking me on and giving me this opportunity and everyone else as well who have bent over backwards for us.”

Unfortunately for McLeod, his perfect strike-rate could not extend to the Festive Hire Hurdle (3360m) with his mount Aristocat finishing fourth of the five runners.

 
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