English apprentice being given big debut chance

Jordan Nason is a new name on the jockeys’ list for today’s Counties meeting and the Englishman has been given a good opportunity to make an immediate impact in New Zealand.

Nason (20), an apprentice jockey, arrived in New Zealand a few weeks ago and has been entrusted by Cambridge trainers Tony Pike and Mark Donoghue to ride Popeye Braggins, in the Vernon and Vazey Truck Parts Ltd 1600. Pike and Donoghue are making use of Nason’s 3kg claim, reducing Popeye Braggin’s weight to 57.5kg.

Nason, from North Yorkshire, is a former successful junior showjumping rider who is apprenticed to Geoffrey Harker at Thirsk, Since turning to racing he has made a favourable impression, riding 16 winners.

“He was keen to come over here for the summer,” said Pike, also a part-owner of Popeye Braggins. “He’s been riding some trackwork for us and others and rode at the Cambridge trials. He rides very well.”

Anyone who wants to check out Nason’s ability only has to look through the videos of the Cambridge trials on November 13. Nason was kept busy at the trials with four rides for the Pike-Donoghue stable, winning on Bellbird and This Girls Ready, and six for Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman.

Nason, who rides as low as 52kg, obtained his New Zealand apprentice jockey’s licence midweek and he should be expecting to get at least some of the minor money on Popeye Braggins, if not a winning share.

Popeye Braggins looked very promising last campaign when taking his record to three wins and four placings from 10 starts and he has had three runs this term and seems on the verge of recapturing form. He was sixth at Ellerslie two starts ago then fifth behind stablemate Kelly O’Reilly at Te Rapa on November 9.