Plan works out perfectly for Swedish apprentice

It’s a great feeling when a plan comes together and that’s exactly what Cambridge trainer Lee Somervell experienced at Te Awamutu today.

Somervell’s new apprentice, Ulrika Holmquist, was credited with her first win when she guided stable runner Holy Affair to a five length win in the Red Bins 2000 and Somervell couldn’t have been happier for the Swedish-born 20-year-old.

“She had her first ride on Fair Fleet for me at Te Rapa last Saturday and one of the reasons I put her on was to get those first-race nerves out of the way,” said Somervell.

“She did everything right on the horse (who finished ninth) and she had her second ride on Ann Browne’s Great Northern winner Tom’s Myth and that was a good experience for her riding over ground.”

Again facing 2000 metres in the next race, Holmquist bounced Holy Affair out from a wide draw and soon had him across tracking the pacemaker Raf Lanac.

Holy Affair sat on Raf Lanac’s hindquarters and Holmquist took him to the front with 450 metres. He was travelling well in front on straightening for the run home and bar a stumble halfway down the straight he never looked in danger of defeat.

“I’m rapt for Ulrika,” said Somervell. “It’s great when a plan comes off.

“She’s got a great attitude and a wonderful work ethic. I think she could be in for a good winter.”

Holmquist initially worked as a stablemate for Cambridge trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman then decided to try her hand as a jockey and signed on with Matamata trainer Toby Autridge before heading back to Cambridge and joining Somervell.

“She’s been with me for the last four months,” said Somervell. “Even when she was riding work in Matamata she would come over and ride a few horses for me afterwards.

“It’s good to see her get a winner and I’d love to see her do well.”

Somervell also predicts a successful winter for Holy Affair, who looked on the verge of a win when placed in his three lead-up races.

“He’s going to be a pretty good winter galloper,” said Somervell. “Actually I’ve got a lovely team for winter with Fair Fleet and Addictive Habit shaping up well, too.”