Apprentice James Orman has already notched a century of winners in Queensland this season and is leading the Brisbane jockeys’ premiership.
On Wednesday he will ride in Melbourne for the first time in the National Apprentice Riders’ Race (1200m) at Sandown against junior jockeys from other states.
And the 18-year-old, who will ride the Lenny Xuereb-trained Any Given Bender, has been doing his homework to maximise his chances.
“I’m going to walk the track when I get there and I’ll see how the track is playing, but I’ve been watching a lot of replays at Sandown and watching how they race on the track I’ll be riding at,” Orman said.
“I’ve watched my horse’s replays as well … he looks a definite challenger in the race.”
Last week Orman brought up the quickest 100 winners in Queensland in a season, bettering the mark set by Chris Munce in 2011-12, when he won on Carda Mojo who is trained by his mother Caroline Allardyce.
With 47 metropolitan wins in Queensland, he leads the premiership by four over Jim Byrne.
“I can say it’s all happened pretty quickly,” Orman said.
“I only had my first race ride in 2013.
“I’ve gained a lot of support from really good trainers in Brisbane and Toowoomba.”
His trip to Melbourne could have a small bearing on the Brisbane title race.
“I’m going to miss one metro meeting which is not very good but it’s better to go to Sandown I suppose and gain that experience,” he said.
“My ultimate goal at the start of the season was to win the apprentices’ premiership. The senior one, I’m still in front but it’s going to be hard to beat Jim Byrne. I won’t be shattered if I don’t win it but I’m obviously going to try very hard to win it.”
Raquel Clark (Tasmania), Jake Casey (Western Australia) and Zac Spain (South Australia) are the other interstate apprentices competing in Wednesday’s race while six Victorian-based apprentices will also be in action in the first of five races in the series.