Opportunity knocks as riders seek first winner
Ripon's card on Wednesday night opens with the fourth running of the unique Raye Wilkinson Apprentice Handicap (6.50), which is for jockeys who have never ridden a winner.
The six-furlong contest, which has attracted ten runners, has been the launchpad to success for many of its participants in the past including Georgia Cox, who won the inaugural running in 2014.
This year's line-up includes David O'Meara's apprentice Tommy O'Connor, who is back for another crack after finishing third in the race a year ago. This time he rides Peach Pavlova, one of two runners from the Ann Duffield yard.
The trainer highlighted the problems of getting suitable jockeys for the race. She said: "We've borrowed two jockeys for our runners as we don't have an apprentice who hasn't ridden a winner.
"Their respective trainers have recommended them on how good they are riding at home, but it's not until they get on the track that we can see what they can do. Thankfully both our horses are steady rides and suitable for apprentices."
Bryan Smart is using his own apprentice Harry Russell for his runner Kyllach Me, who should be a major player after a win and a second at Thirsk in recent weeks.
It will be a new experience for the rider, however, as he was riding as a conditional over jumps last year. Smart said: "Harry is a tall lad but is keen to give it a go on the Flat and works hard. Hopefully he should go well as Kyllach Me has a leading chance in the race."