Rebecca Scott’s husband may not be a keen racing follower, but he knows what his wife’s win on Verry Flash in Saturday’s Taumarunui Gold Cup (2200m) at Rotorua means to them both.
Scott, an Auckland apprentice jockey, registered the biggest win of her riding career aboard the Nick Bishara-trained Verry Flash (a brother to dual Group One winner Verry Elleegant) and for the 25-year-old and husband, Jason Barry, her winning share of the stakemoney will be well spent.
“We got married on March 21 this year and we’re saving to buy our first home,” Scott said. “The win has come at a good time for us and hopefully I can roll on a bit from it.”’
Scott is older than the majority of apprentice jockeys and because she has been indentured to smaller stables she hasn’t got the raceday opportunities that several other apprentices get.
However, within 10 days she has doubled her winning tally for the season after picking up her first double at Pukekohe when triumphant on Verry Flash’s stablemate Nulli Secundus and Deluxe Edition, and last month she was again successful on Nulli Secundus.
Scott’s previous biggest win came last October on hardy galloper He’s Cavalier, her most regular mount, in the Te Awamutu Cup (2000m) at Te Rapa. She has ridden He’s Cavalier for Pukekohe owner-trainer James Hatton on 27 occasions for three wins and 10 placings and has had black type opportunities on the son of Castledale .
However, the trainer who has provided her with not only the most wins but also a few milestones is Bishara. Her four wins for Bishara include her very first win, which was aboard Betterbegood at Te Awamutu exactly three years to the day before Saturday’s memorable victory on Verry Flash.
“It’s come full circle with Nick,” Scott said. “I’m so grateful for him giving me the rides, especially on Verry Flash last Saturday. It all came about a while ago when I filled in for Nick riding his horses in trackwork when his track rider was away. After that he gave me some raceday rides.”
Scott’s introduction to racing came when she answered an advertisement to ride some horses on the Muriwai Beach for owner-trainer George Merkulov.
“My family is not horsey, but I got into ponies and show jumping and I didn’t get into racing until I was 18 years old,” she said. “I went to work for George and never got back to University. I loved working the horses at Muriwai and George signed me on as an apprentice.”
Unfortunately, being out at Muriwai Beach, Scott was virtually unknown to most of the racing fraternity so she later transferred her apprenticeship to Cydne Evans at Byerley Park and that enabled her to get a bit more exposure and pick up more opportunities.
But then Evans got down to only a few horses in work so Scott transferred to Jenna Mahoney (also at Byerley Park) last February and she completes her apprenticeship in January.
“It’s working out all right for me,” Scott said. “I travel around a bit riding trackwork and I’m getting more rides. They mightn’t be favourites, but they’re rides and every time I get a win on an outsider it’s a big thrill.”
The biggest longshot thrill for Scott came 11 months ago when she notched the first of her six wins for the season on 31/1 outsider Pushka for her original employer at Pukekohe. “That was my first win for George and it was really special,” she said. “I’d broken Pushka in and done all the early work on him when I was working for George.”
Though Scott has been licensed since 2016-17, she has had an interrupted career through a series of injuries.
“I had a race fall at Ruakaka a few years back and had surgery on my wrist so was off for quite a while,” she said.
Scott has ridden 14 winners and, following her Taumarunui Cup win, she is hoping more trainers will take advantage of her 3kg apprentice allowance in the new season. - NZ Racing Desk