Racing Victoria (RV) apprentice jockey Thomas Stockdale has been rewarded for his determined comeback from injury with a place in the Longines Prix Future Racing Stars race, which will be held on Sunday, 16 June at Chantilly Racecourse, on the outskirts of Paris.
Having spent more than a year recuperating from a broken leg, Stockdale eventually resumed race riding on Thursday, 4 April and has swiftly made up for lost time, registering nine winners since his return to the saddle.
Next month the 20-year-old will embark on his first trip to Europe to compete against apprentices from across the globe in the Future Racing Stars race, which will be held on the same day as the Group 1 French Oaks, worth €1 million (approximately AU$1.57 million). The meeting traditionally attracts up to 40,000 racegoers, and the feature is widely recognised as one of the world’s most prestigious races for fillies.
Stockdale will be following in the footsteps of several peers, including Michael Poy (2018), Lachie King (2017), Tahlia Hope (2016) and Beau Mertens (2015), who all travelled to the French capital in recent years to represent Australia in the 1600-metre handicap.
He has sought advice from his fellow apprentices and will be accompanied on the trip by his parents as well as Mel Weatherley, RV’s Athlete and Careers Development Manager, and Ron Hall, RV’s Jockey Wellbeing and Safety Officer.
“It’s my first trip to Europe and my first riding experience overseas, so I feel very privileged to travel to France and represent my country,” said Stockdale.
“I’ve spoken to a few of the guys who went in previous years, they all really enjoyed it so I’m looking forward to the experience – and the croissants of course!
“Riding trackwork for local trainers and seeing how they train their horses over there will be a real education for me, so I’m hoping to come back a better jockey and if I can go well in the Future Stars race, I’ll be very happy.
“Being out injured for so long definitely made me realise how much I enjoy riding, it’s a great career and I really want to make the most of the opportunities which come my way. This is a great chance for me to ride against some of the leading apprentices in the world, so I’m excited to get over there and prove myself.”