No plain Jane – Elliott on the verge of having claim reduced to 3lb
Rising star Jane Elliott is well on the road to emulating her role model Josephine Gordon and hopes to have her claim reduced to 3lb at Wolverhampton on Friday.
Fittingly, the 23-year-old apprentice could hit the 50-winner landmark for her mentor George Margarson and expects a big showing from her mount Caribbean Spring in the closing Grand Theatre Wolverhampton Apprentice Handicap (5.20).
Elliott, from Lincoln, is sitting in third place in the apprentice title race with six wins and is not ruling out a bid for the Stobart-sponsored championship which has been won by three women in the past, most recently Josephine Gordon two years ago.
APPRENTICE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
David Egan 14 wins
Jason Watson 7
Jane Elliott 6
Ben Robinson 5
Rossa Ryan 5
*standings correct as of end of afternoon racing
After starting out with Ralph Beckett soon after leaving school, Elliott had to look further down the ladder to find her first winner, which arrived when she joined Mick Appleby at Newark in 2015.
She said: "It was hard going to start with, as it is for all apprentices, but I never heard anyone say they weren't going to give me a ride because I was a girl – not to my face anyway. I had a few rides for Ralph but decided to move to Mick Appleby's where there were more opportunities and I was lucky enough to ride my first winner for him in 2015.
"I kept plugging away for a few years but where Mick was situated was in the middle of nowhere and there weren't any other trainers or jockeys around."
Like Gordon before her, Elliott then took the plunge and moved to the bright lights of Newmarket in 2016 and has not looked back.
She said: "Moving to Newmarket has been the best move I made and it's also handy for the British Racing School where the jockey coaches have been a big help. I joined George as he got Jordan Vaughan and Lulu Stanford going, and I've not looked back."
Despite being based in Newmarket, Elliott is not afraid to put herself about and has a big following up north where Mark Johnston, Les Eyre and David Barron have been big supporters.
She added: "I rode a winner for Mark Johnston in the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum silks at the Chester May meeting which was fantastic, but as well as riding out my claim, my ambition is to ride in the blue of Godolphin – that would be very special."
As well as Gordon and other female jockeys such as Hayley Turner and Nicola Currie, Elliott also credits her agent Steven Croft for providing some of the momentum behind her success.
She said: "What Josie has done has sparked a change in attitudes towards female jockeys and that has helped Steven get me going. Long may it continue."
'Lots of apprentices have attracted more attention despite possessing less ability'
Richard Birch on what makes Jane Elliott such an exciting prospect
As a punter I first became aware of Jane Elliott’s talent when she partnered Tartan Bute to victory for Mark Johnston in an apprentice handicap at Lingfield last March.
The 7-2 shot had a better chance on form than his price suggested, but there was so much to like about the way Elliott got the job done.
After setting out to make all, she remained composed when Royal Marskell blazed past at halfway and always appeared to have matters in control.
As well as being highly effective, Elliott also looked stylish in producing Tartan Bute to lead well inside the final furlong for a neck success over hot favourite Lost The Moon.
Rarely caught out of position, she also expresses herself well in television interviews and looks to have a really bright future.
Lots of apprentices – both male and female – have attracted far more media attention over the past 12 months despite possessing less ability than Elliott, who has so far gone largely under the radar.
While many of them will turn into journeymen jockeys, riding between five and ten winners a year once their claims have disappeared, Elliott has the potential to do far better than that and make a fine career for herself in the saddle.
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