A weekend of wins for Westbury Stud stallion's. 

Pictured \ Reliable Man

Photo Credit \ Lesley Warwick

Stallions Kind to Apprentices

The Westbury Stud stallion roster played significant roles in the budding careers of a pair of apprentices on the all-weather track at Cambridge on Saturday.

Ngakau Hailey and Donovan Cooper enjoyed memorable moments early in the program with their first winning rides.

Hailey, 16, combined with the Reliable Man four-year-old Chattahoochee, who is trained by his employer Debbie Sweeney, to score over 1550 metres.

“It was great to finally get that first win. He jumped nicely, I got him to relax and he gave me a beautiful feeling the whole way. It was a great experience,” he said.

Born and initially raised on the East Coast of the North Island, Hailey grew up riding horses bareback before moving to Hamilton.

“One day I went up to Pokeno with one of my uncles and I tried trackwork riding and I fell in love,” he said.

“I then went out to Shelley Wright’s at Ngaruawahia and I started riding on the farm out there to get some experience and I got my first job with Debbie Sweeney.

“I am absolutely loving riding and I am looking forward to riding more winners.”

Raced by Bryan and Dee Black with Lisa Anderson, Chattahoochee was bred by The Oaks Stud and is out of the late Darci Brahma mare Auspicious whose half-brother Kelantan was a stakes winner in New Zealand and Singapore.

New Zealand Equine Academy member Cooper celebrated his first victory at his ninth attempt when the 23-year-old partnered the Telperion mare Electric Time over 1550 metres for her second career success.

She is prepared by breeder and owner Lou Te Keeti and is from the family of the multiple Group 1 winners Hayai and Miss Potential.

A South African native, Cooper is determined to make the most of a second chance.

“I went to the South African (Jockey) Academy, but unfortunately things didn’t work out there,” he said.

“I messed things up in South Africa and I regret it a lot because I was very immature when I was younger.

“I was looking for an apprenticeship and I got a call from Donavan Mansour saying my name had been put forward to become a new apprentice in the new academy that he was setting up in New Zealand.

“I had a couple of talks with him, which went really well. I got accepted, which was a really exciting experience.

“It took a couple of months to get my visa and when I stepped foot on the plane it was the best thing I have done in my life.”