STABLE APPRENTICE, Sophie Ralston is currently on a working holiday in Cyprus and today rides in a Group Two.
Sophie (pictured on Lancelot Du Lac) has made a good start to the year with wins on two of the yard’s horses, Nezar and Classic Star after having her best season last year with 10 winners. In an interview with the Racing Post, she explained her reason for taking a short break in sunnier climes.
“I represented Ireland in the HH Sheikh Mansoo Arabian Racing Festival and at the finals in Abu Dhabi I met up with two apprentice jockeys from Cyprus. We became friends, they invited me over and I ended up having rides on my first visit.
“It’s a working holiday with a little bit of sunshine. I got very busy last season and wanted to take some time away because they only race twice a week here but I’m exercising horses almost every morning. You can ride as many lots as you like – I rode 17 lots on Wednesday and I’ll be coming back fitter, stronger and ready for the season.”
Today, Sophie, who can do 8st, has an interesting ride on a very large 10yo horse called Kritikos Santi in the Antonis Petris Stakes at Nicosia due off at 6pm local time. Apparently, he’s not only very large but a bit of a character and has a tendency to try and bite horses next to him in the stalls. He’s also rather whip shy so Sophie will have to coax and cajole the best out of her mount without recourse to the whip.
Sophie has eight rides today on the nine-race card so she’ll be really hoping to get off the mark and ride her first winner in Cyprus but obviously it’s the Group Two prize she’ll be particularly keen to win. Sophie said, “He’s massive apparently and I’m very small so I think he’ll enjoy having me on board and might not notice me.”
Good luck Sophie and Harper Lodge Farm looks forward to having you back in February, even stronger, fitter, raring to go and possibly with a sun tan!