Guest blog – Lauren Stojakovic

Adelaide jockey Lauren Stojakovic who will ride Blue Diamond favourite Miracles of Life shares her thoughts leading into the big Group 1 race in the following blog.

I first dreamt of being a jockey when I was five years old. In fact, mum’s only explanation for my obsession with horses came from the fact that she was working as a TAB operator while she was pregnant with me, because no one else in the family had any interest in horses.

To have the ride on the Blue Diamond favourite this Saturday is an amazing career opportunity. Having kept the ride on “Barbie” after our Blue Diamond Preview win almost four weeks ago at Caulfield is really exciting and I’m looking forward to hopefully getting the job done.

Just in case you’re wondering, Miracles of Life was given the nickname Barbie because she’s got a beautiful long blonde mane and tail which she won’t let anyone cut, and coupled with the fact that she’s a real girl around the stable, I thought the name was spot on.

Her talent from the beginning was obvious because she had this “go” button, where she just excels and gives you everything the minute you ask.

After the filly’s first serious gallop I told her trainer Dan Clarken that we had a serious weapon and she has just kept going from strength to strength, posting three wins from three starts. The great thing too is that she gets more versatile the more she races, and is brave enough to take the small gaps.

Initially I felt somewhat nervous drawing barrier one because I don’t think you have as many options but I’ll do my form and speed maps and judge it as we break from the barriers. At the end of the day she’s a pretty straight forward horse, we have a great bond and I have a heap of faith in her.

To me the biggest dangers in the Blue Diamond are the Snowden fillies, although Guelph stands out as the main threat. Dissident and Crack a Roadie are the other interesting runners but I can only focus on my girl.

I was really wrapped with Miracles of Life’s work yesterday morning. I couldn’t have asked for a better piece of work going in to the race and she seems as happy as I’ve seen her. The four weeks between runs is a long time, especially stepping up from the 1000 metres to the 1200 but I don’t see it as being a problem. We did a week of swimming when we took her home after the Blue Diamond Preview win and she really blossomed after that.

The journey as a jockey has been a long one for me because since I started riding professionally at the age of 17, I’ve had a series of lengthy injuries including a broken leg, surgery on both knees and a badly smashed pelvis which collectively took me out of the game for many years. I guess with everything in life you have to adapt and change to circumstance so I worked as a vet nurse and part-time Steward for Thoroughbred Racing South Australia which was a blessing at the time because it allowed me to fully recover physically, mentally and emotionally. There was one point there when I didn’t want to be a jockey again because I lost all confidence and self belief.

It wasn’t until 2009 when I approached Dan Clarken to take me on as his apprentice that I got the spark and confidence back so he’s been integral to my career which I’m really thankful for.

To be honest, I’m just happy to be out there riding and doing what I love. I have allowed myself to think of winning it (the Blue Diamond) but I won’t think too much about it. Obviously it’s a big race on Saturday, the quality of horses are better and it’s bigger prizemoney but I’m out there to get the job done like everyone else.

I’ve always admired jockeys like Glen Boss – who’s riding amazing at the moment – and let’s face it you don’t get much better than Craig Williams. I rate them so highly that I felt I was among all of these sports stars last time I was at Caulfield, but we’re all human and have something in common, we love to ride horses.

While I might not be the best rider I deserve to be there and I wouldn’t swap Barbie for anything in the world. I just think she’s amazing and it’s a privilege to ride her.

Oh, and just in case you’re wondering, my surname is pronounced STEE-ARKA-VITCH. I really hope you’re hearing that a bit after the Diamond.

Go Barbie!

Source : Racing Victoria

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