JOCKEY jordan Vaughan epitomises horse racing’s fickleness.
Down on winners, rides and, therefore, confidence, he travelled to day one of Ayr’s Gold Cup meeting more in hope than expectation.
Little did the popular apprentice rider – the lad who proudly leads up dual Group One winner and Yorkshire horse of the year Quiet Reflection – would ride two winners for his boss Karl Burke.
It was the perfect tonic for the 22-year-old who sweated down to 8st 3lb to make the weight on Sister Dude before getting the leg up on stablemate Sporty Yankee as a result of jockey Clifford Lee being injured at Beverley on Wednesday.
As Vaughan told The Yorkshire Post after his 10th and 11th wins of the campaign, jockeys simply have to make the most of their opportunities when they arise.
“It’s a nice surprise,” he said. “I was only due to go up for the ride on Sister Dude and, in fairness, she wasn’t promising a lot.
“She works so well at home but never shows anything on the racetrack.
“Karl asked what weight I could do on Tuesday morning and I said about 8st 5lb or 8st 4lb.
“He said to do my best – I won’t tell you what weight I was – but it came off bit by bit. Fruit, yoghurt, water, it seemed to work.
“I had a long sweat in the car on the way up and then did a power walk around the track with loads of layers of clothes on. That just finished it off and I made 8st 3lb.
“Sporty Yankee was Clifford’s ride. He got injured at Beverley. Nothing’s broken, he’s just torn a few muscles in his hand. He’s just missed a winner and that will hurt more.”
Vaughan, who now has 43 career wins to his name, was the first to admit that he became a bit despondent with his lack of rides in recent times – he’s just one of a clutch of young jockeys vying for supremacy at Burke’s Spigot Lodge stables near Leyburn.
“This is a nice boost,” he said. “The way you are feeling effects your riding. A double keeps you going.”
So, too, does his association with Quiet Reflection who won Royal Ascot’s Commonwealth Cup for the elated members of Ontoawinner syndicate who literally jumped for joy in the hallowed winner’s enclosure before sluicing through the mud to win Haydock’s 32Red Sprint Cup nearly a fortnight ago under Dougie Costello.
For the first time, Vaughan was not leading up the three-year-old sprinter because he was required to ride Georgian Bay at Kempton who led going into the final furlong before being narrowly beaten. “When you get a chance to ride in one of the big handicaps, you can’t say no,” he explained.
Yet, when the rider talks about Quiet Reflection, he embodies the special relationship between stable staff and the champion thoroughbreds in their care.
“It was hard watching on TV in the Kempton weighing room and not being able to lead her up,” he said.
“I went down there in the box so I didn’t get back until 11pm. The first thing I did was check on her.
“She was lying her down and resting her legs – she didn’t thank me for disturbing her – but she loves her Polos and she had a good few packets. I can’t tell you what it is like to be responsible for a horse like her.
“She loved that ground at Haydock. You wouldn’t know she’s had a race. I’ve never seen her so well.”
Vaughan already has October 15 in his diary – this is when Quiet Reflection is due to round off her season in the Qipco Champions Sprint. It promises, with the likes of dual Nunthorpe winner Mecca’s Angel, to be one of the races of the year.
He was not the only promising Yorkshire apprentice to prevail at Ayr – Ebor-winning jockey Adam McNamara was also in the winner’s enclosure courtesy of Balance for Malton trainer Richard Fahey.
The teenager, who only rode his first winner in January, is also due to ride the well-fancied Nameitwhatyoulike for Hambleton trainer in tomorrow’s William Hill Gold Cup, one of the most competitive six furlong sprint handicaps of the year.
The horse is seeking a hat-trick after winning Ripon’s Great St Wilfrid and then York’s Garrowby Stakes. However the Fahey-trained Growl – the mount of former Grand National-winning jockey Graham Lee – remains the clear favourite.
The Fahey yard is flying at present, with Brian The Snail justifying favouritism to make a winning racecourse debut at Pontefract yesterday.
Named after a character in the Magic Roundabout like his sire Zebedee, Brian The Snail was certainly no slow coach as he came late into the race to claim victory.
Delivered with a patient and well-timed run by Tony Hamilton who won last year’s Ayr Gold Cup on Don’t Touch, the market leader got up in the last 100 yards.
Medina Sidonia may return to Pontefract next month after grinding out victory in the ROA/Racing Post Owners Jackpot Handicap.
The Bluff Cove Handicap over two and a quarter miles on October 3 is a possible target for the Tim Easterby-trained four-year-old who got up in the shadow of the post under a strong drive from 3lb claimer Rachel Richardson.