In-form apprentice on a roll

Apprentice jockey Ashvin Goindasamy is making a favourable impression. Photo – Trish Dunell.

Ashvin Goindasamy has swapped tailor-made miniature jockey’s colours for the real item and he’s now living a childhood dream. The Cambridge apprentice celebrated his best day in the saddle on Saturday when he kicked home two winners from four rides at Matamata, Direct Capital and Athena Baby, as well as picking up a close second on Cutting Up Rough.

Goindasamy began race-riding at Te Awamutu last May aboard eighth-placed Stand Tall for his employer, Ralph Manning, and after having to settle for a couple of seconds and a third from 14 rides last season, he has made a favourable impression this term. He recorded his first win aboard Cutting Up Rough at Taupo on August 22 and his double on Saturday took his tally to five. He has also fashioned a record of nine placings to go with his five wins from 35 rides over the last couple of months.

Along the way he has been attracting the interest of outside trainers. Both Direct Capital and Athena Baby were the first time he had ridden for either of the respective trainers, Karen Nicholson and John Bell.

As he does after competing on any raceday, Goindasamy was quickly on the phone to his parents in Mauritius after Saturday’s windfall to tell them of his good fortune. “I spoke to Dad on Friday and told him I had some good chances and thought I could win with Cutting Up Rough,” Goindasamy said. “I wasn’t expecting two wins and I nearly got three. Cutting Up Rough went a top race.”

Goindasamy’s father was a trackwork rider in Mauritius and he was instrumental in the 20-year-old becoming a jockey, sewing the seed in the early childhood days. “I was really small and my father said I should be a jockey and from then on that’s all I’ve wanted to be,” Goindasamy said. “When I was five I had to dress up for a fancy dress at school and my parents got a tailor to make me some jockeys’ colours. I was the only one dressed as a jockey.

“I used to watch horse races on TV every weekend in Mauritius and went to the stable where Dad used to work.”

Eight years ago Goindasamy took a step toward realising his dream when learning to ride on ponies and other horses at the local equestrian centre and that led to an 18-month stint riding trackwork in Malaysia.

“But just as I got my licence there, my visa expired so that’s when I decided to come to New Zealand,” Goindasamy said. “I knew a bit about New Zealand racing so I looked up the racing website (NZTR) and found Ralph Manning’s name among the trainers and rang him.”

Manning encouraged Goindasamy to take the gamble in New Zealand and it’s a move that has the young rider buzzing. “He (Manning) has been such a big help and now I’m getting some good rides,” Goindasamy said.

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