FORMER champion jockey Patrick Payne spoke in glowing terms of apprentice jockey Amber Sims following her winning ride on Star Of Jeune in a benchmark 70 race over 3045 metres at Warrnambool yesterday.
Star Of Jeune defeated the favourite Clare Island Boy by more than two lengths with By His Design in third place on an eventful afternoon at the races.
Payne, who rode with success in Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong before taking up training in 2008, said he could not fault the ride of Sims on the seven-year-old gelding.
“It was a perfect ride by Amber,” Payne said.
“I had instructed her to try and get an easy lead in the 3045 metres race but when that plan failed she never panicked.
“Amber showed great initiative to just get a seat behind the leader Rich Faith.
“Amber’s got good hands. She just allowed the horse to come from behind the leaders before the home turn and the race was over within a few strides.”
The 19-year-old New Zealand-born jockey who is apprenticed to Ballarat trainer Dan O’Sullivan said she had an easy ride on Star Of Jeune.
“Star Of Jeune travelled really well in the run,” Sims said.
“He just boxed up behind the leaders and when I asked him to go he just cruised past them. Patrick had the horse very fit to run out the 3045 metres.
“Star Of Jeune is rock hard fit so I think he’ll be hard to beat in any distance races in the future that Patrick decides to run him in.”
Sims was having her 10th Australian ride which resulted in her fourth win when she won on Star Of Jeune in the $15,000 race.
Payne said the four-kilogram claim for Sims was a bonus.
“I think Amber’s got a bright future,” Payne said.
“She’s only had three rides for me but on each occasion she has ridden the horses very well.
“Her four-kilo claim is very positive for trainers looking to take some weight off the top-weighted horses.
“I’ll look at getting Star Of Jeune ready for some jumping races over the next few months.
“We’ve given him plenty of time to mature. I think he’s got a bright future as a jumper.”
The eight-race program finished up on a sombre note with the last-start Warrnambool winner Kentucky Treasure being humanely euthanised after he fractured his near-fore fetlock near the 500-metre mark in a benchmark 64 race.
Popular clerk of the course Ray Walsh, who was earlier kicked by Kentucky Treasure, suffered a broken leg and was taken to South West Healthcare. Walsh was kept in overnight.