A billboard resulted in Laura Lafferty’s first involvement with the Warrnambool May Carnival but this year’s event will be the first step in a new challenge for the apprentice.
Lafferty was an outstanding junior athlete before switching paths to become a jockey more than two years ago. But Lafferty was once the face of the Warrnambool carnival as an ambassador before she got into race riding.
Lafferty said previous Warrnambool Racing Club chairman Ashley King was driving past her high school when inspiration struck him.
“The chairman of the club was driving past my high school, Emmanuel College, and on the top of the board it says the important events that were on and I’d just made the Australian athletics team to run in Sydney,” Lafferty said.
“The board said, “congratulations Laura Lafferty for making the Australian junior athletics team.
“He went back to the Warrnambool Racing Club and said, ‘what about Laura Lafferty?’ I was known there because Dad (Peter) was training and still trains there.”
Lafferty wasn’t riding trackwork at the time as she focused on her athletics and Year 12 studies.
Lafferty’s ability on the athletics track led to her receiving an offer of a track and field scholarship to a US college. However, she turned her back on the athletics track for the racetrack, starting her jockey apprenticeship in 2019.
Trainer Quinton Scott has booked Laura Lafferty to ride his handy four-year-old Bull Dust at Warrnambool on Tuesday.Source:News Limited
Lafferty has thrived in her time in the saddle, booting home 89 winners, including her maiden city win at Caulfield on April 24, and outriding her country claim.
Tuesday’s Warrnambool meeting will be Lafferty’s first at which she will compete on level terms with her more experienced rivals but she was looking forward to the challenge.
“I try and ride as confidently as I can and give my horses every chance. I’m going into the carnival with same mindset,” Lafferty said.
“I’d like to think that I’ve formed a lot of relationships and partnerships with trainers so I’m hoping to continue those, hopefully getting on the same horses.
“Hopefully, it’s a smooth transition but I’m still able to claim 3kg in the city so I’m looking forward to it.”
Lafferty said her best ride of the three-day carnival will be on the Quinton Scott-trained Bull Dust in Tuesday’s Carlton Draught BM 64 Handicap (1100m).
Bull Dust won two of four starts last time in. But Lafferty said the four-year-old had retuned from a spell in career-best condition.
“I’ve given him last two main gallops and he’s come back a better horse this time in. He’s bigger, better and strong and has impressed me again this time in,” Lafferty said.
Originally published asLaura leaping into new level at Warrnambool
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