It’s no easy task taking over from the reigning champion apprentice but Jess Del Frari says she has every reason to be confident in partnering Either Oar at her first ride at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
That’s because the 25-year-old is no stranger to the mare who was originally trained by Gwenda Markwell – Del Frari started her apprenticeship with the Markwell stable – and having already won on Either Oar about 18 months ago.
Del Frari will have to wait until the last race, the Expect It All This Autumn At ATC Handicap (1200m), for her Randwick debut but she’s excited about the prospect.
“I’m confident riding her, I know the horse and she’s the kindest horse I can ask for in town,’’ she said.
“She’s always been kind, I’ve known her since she walked into the stable as a filly. I’ve ridden her a lot of trackwork and she was one of Gwenda’s favourites.
“It’s a big opportunity for me and it was nice of them to offer me the ride.”
While Del Frari is closing on her 50th career winner her chances in town have been limited to just three rides, one of those a fourth on Either Oar at Canterbury back in May.
The six-year-old was a dynamic winner first-up at Randwick under Zac Lloyd before a gallant third over 1200m at Rosehill two weeks ago, both from wide gates. That’s something Del Frari won’t have to contend with from barrier two.
“It will make my job easier,’’ she said.
“If I can get her to relax up near the front of the field and get her in a great rhythm, hopefully nobody annoys her. The more she’s left alone the better she is.”
Del Frari, now apprenticed to Kerry Parker, said her only Randwick experience came early in her apprenticeship with Markwell when she was sent to Tulloch Lodge to be under the eye of Gai Waterhouse for a couple of weeks.
She said it’s pleasing to see the Markwell stable continuing under trainer Ross McConville and if Either Oar, $7.50 with TAB on Wednesday, could give her a first city win it would be even more satisfying.
“They are holding the stable together well so I’m really glad to see that,’’ she said.
“I’d ridden for Gwenda since I was kid, before I was an apprentice. I had ponies when I was growing up and I was looking for a part time job, I went to Gwenda’s stable and I didn’t leave until her passing.”
McConville’s assistant Nigil Mohanan said Either Oar has pleased the stable this preparation and felt there were excuses for her third placing behind Diamond Dealer at Rosehill where she found herself a little further back than usual.
“It was a bit of a mess but we thought we’d get the same run as first-up,’’ Mohanan said.
“When we jumped there was plenty of speed from the inside and Zac said she wasn’t comfortable between horses.
“That claim will be good for her. She’s not a bad horse to ride, hopefully she will make her own luck. If everything works out well it’d be great for Jess and for us too.”
Mohanan said it’s not out of the question that, should Either Oar win on Saturday, consideration would be given to backing up in the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill next week to chase some black type with an in-form mare.
– Racing NSW