Davies off the mark with Wanganui winner

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  • April 11, 2023
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Apprentice Toni Davies was enjoying a chill morning less than twenty-four hours after putting the first tick in the win column of her fledgling riding career at Wanganui on Thursday.

Davies, who is apprenticed to Moira and Kieran Murdoch at Waiuku but currently on loan to Peter Didham at Awapuni, piloted the Janelle Miller-trained Tequila Spirit to a narrow victory in a maiden 1360m contest to bring up win number one at her 29th raceday ride.

The twenty-two-year-old born and bred Aucklander was still taking it all in on Friday morning as she recounted what was going through her thoughts as she approached the winning post.

“It’s an amazing feeling now, but at the time it was quite surreal,” Davies said.

“Janelle had told me to ride him handy if I could, so after we jumped, I went forward with him and he settled quite well outside the speed.

“When the pressure went on in the straight, he was really brave and I just kept telling myself to keep pushing and get the best out of him.

“When we got to the line in front, I didn’t know what to think, but today it is sinking in and I’m just really delighted.”

On hand to witness the success was Davies’ father George and brother Chase and it is her parents that she credits for igniting her love of horses.

“Dad used to be a jockey while my Mum, Rachel, used to ride trackwork,” she said.

“They got me started with pony club and the like and I also learnt to ride sport horses.

“I didn’t start off in racing as I have a Level 5 Diploma in Digital Communications for Otago Polytech, but one day I messaged Kieran Murdoch to see if they had any jobs going in the stable.

“She came back to me and I went out to their place on a one-week trial while one of the staff was away.

“That person didn’t come back and I ended up staying and I just loved it.

“I started off riding a few later in the mornings and it has all gone from there. I’m apprenticed to the Murdoch’s but I’m currently on loan to Peter Didham so I can get more experience riding in trials and jumpouts down here in the Central Districts.”

Davies believes her first win will only give her career more momentum and she is keen to get more experience and success under her belt.

“I think things have gone really well so far and it feels like it is all happening quite fast for me,” she said.

“Trainers have been very good at giving me rides and my goal is to keep learning and make my mistakes as few and as far apart as I can.

“I haven’t managed to celebrate much after Thursday as I just went home to life as normal and now I’m getting ready for my rides at Woodville on Monday.

“Hopefully I can get to celebrate this one a little over the weekend, but I think it’s important to stay grounded and just concentrate on improving and making the most of the opportunities I’m given.”

Davies will ride the Gary Vile-trained Gin Trap in race 6 at Woodville while she is also aboard the Lisa Latta-trained Lincoln The Fox in the last race on the card.

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