Dual achievement for in-form jockey Jenny Duggan
30 Jul 2012 | Jenny Duggan has won both the apprentices’ premiership and Bill Wade Medal at Newcastle in a remarkable four months of riding.
The apprentice of the moment rode a treble at Broadmeadow’s season finale last Saturday to clinch both – remarkable achievements considering she did not begin riding at the track until March 21. Duggan’s treble lifted her to 10 wins for the season at Broadmeadow from only 42 mounts – a strike rate of 4.2.
This gave her the Bill Wade Medal; awarded annually to the jockey with the best strike rate at the track, based on a minimum 35 rides. She narrowly pipped Jason Lee (4.33), who rode 9 winners from 39 rides.
“I’m overwhelmed,” a delighted Duggan said about winning both the apprentices’ title and Bill Wade Medal. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think this could happen, especially so quickly.”
Swedish-born Duggan, 33, a former successful amateur rider, shed 10kg earlier this year to switch to a professional riding career and won at her first ride at Port Macquarie on February 17.
Proud husband Ben, who has given up his successful amateur riding career, to manage his wife’s rides and drive her to every meeting, described her as a “racing machine”.
“She rides 15 horses work every morning at Gosford and then goes to the races wherever she has bookings,” he said. “It is a fantastic achievement for her to achieve this in only a few months.”
The husband and wife team between them rode 50 of the 99 amateur winners last season, when Jenny won the NSW premiership.
Stewards suspended Duggan for four meetings at the end of the Broadmeadow meeting for causing interference in the third race on one of her three winners (A Bridge Too Far) – all for leading trainer Kris Lees. She pleaded guilty to the charge and will begin her suspension tomorrow and resume riding on Thursday week.
Lees prepared four winners to post a fifth consecutive hometown trainers’ premiership, which he described as “very satisfying”.
“It’s not something you set out to do, but it’s nice all the same to win five in a row at home,” he said. “Credit to all our staff who do such a good job.”
Lees trained 21 winners for the season, four and a half ahead of Darren Smith, who didn’t go home empty-handed.
Smith’s strike rate of 3.65 was just enough to win him a third Max Lees Medal, awarded to the trainer with the best strike rate for the season, again based on a minimum 35 starters. He narrowly edged out John O’Shea (3.70), also a previous winner of the award.
Grant Buckley (15 wins) didn’t ride a winner last Saturday, but managed to hold off Mitchell Bell (14.5 wins) to clinch his first Newcastle riding premiership.
Andrew Gibbons, who rode Lees’s fourth winner last Saturday ($14 shot Catch Your Idol) achieved a personal milestone. It was his 52nd winner for the season, bettering the previous season’s tally of 51.