Every jockey’s first Group One win is one to savour. For 22-year-old Sam Clipperton it is also a dream result to repay the man who has shaped his career.
Riding Peeping, a $15 chance in the Coolmore Classic for his old boss Ron Quinton, Clipperton relied on the skills he had honed throughout his apprenticeship and beyond.
Although there were some doubts over Peeping’s ability to run a strong 1500m, Clipperton went into Saturday’s race full of confidence.
“It might sound silly but this morning I went to see her and give her a pat and she gave a squeal and a kick and I thought she was feeling really good,” Clipperton said.
“Ron has been such a big part of my life and to win for him is so special.
“And to win on a horse I’ve had so much to do with is amazing.
“I’ve never not been on her in a race.
“It makes it so much more special because she’s not a horse I’ve just jumped on.”
Clipperton had Peeping midfield from her wide barrier and he held her together to give her every chance at the distance.
“At the 300 metres I was confident,” he said.
“And then when she went past (leader) Solicit I thought I had it even though I could head Azkadellia coming.”
Azkadellia ($4) finished a half-length second with favourite Solicit ($3.90) the same margin third.
Quinton, an eight-time Sydney premiership winning jockey, also developed the career of champion rider Hugh Bowman.
“It was a beautiful ride,” Quinton said. “It reminded me of some of mine.
“I’m very proud. Sam has been with me since he was 15. I identified him at an open day we had for future jockeys.
“He has come a long way and really deserves this.”
Clipperton admits he has been desperate to get his first Group One win and it has shown in a three recent suspensions.
“I have been trying so hard to prove myself,” he said.
“I just wanted it so much.”
The day wasn’t over for Clipperton who used his new-found confidence 40 minutes later to steer It’s Somewhat ($8) to victory in the Group Two Ajax Stakes (1500m).
The Godolphin five-year-old beat stayer Excess Knowledge ($10) by a long neck with Dances On Stars ($31) making a sustained run from last to finish another nose third.
Clipperton will ride next Saturday before beginning another suspension which will keep him out of Rosehill Guineas day on March 26.