New arrival adds wealth of international experience

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  • February 12, 2024
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By Paul Vettise, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Champion jockey Per-Anders Graberg is hoping to make an impression in New Zealand to add to the list of countries he has successfully ridden in.

The vastly experienced Swedish jockey arrived last week on a four-month visa and has based himself in Cambridge.

“I have been riding out for Tony Pike and, of course, for any others if they need me,” Graberg said.

The 49-year-old finished fifth aboard the Pike-trained Full Moon Fever in his New Zealand debut at Matamata on Wednesday and will have two rides at Te Rapa on Saturday for the stable.

The natural lightweight will partner the promising Vera Rose in the $350,000 Sir Patrick Hogan Karapiro Classic (1600m) and the capable but often unpredictable Dawn Parade in the Vertical Logistics Handicap (1400m).

“I am very glad he has put me on and very much looking forward to it,” Graberg said.

Fiorente filly Vera Rose has made a promising start to her career with the three-year-old winning her first two starts and most recently finished fourth in the Gr.3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) at Trentham.

Vera Rose is raced by breeder The Oaks Stud, the Cambridge operation managed by Rick Williams whose son Dean was formerly Pike’s Racing Manager and a key player in Graberg’s arrival in New Zealand.

“I met Dean when he came over to Europe and stopped by Sweden on his way to Ireland and we had a chat about it and he said he could help to set it up,” he said.

“I said yes, okay, and when they cancelled all the racing back home for the winter and none of my normal clients were going to Dubai like they normally do, I said let’s go for it.

“My plan was to have come over a lot earlier, but it took longer than I expected to get my visa through, so I’ve only been here for five days.”

Graberg has a career tally of 2062 winners, mainly in Sweden, and has been champion Scandinavian jockey on 12 occasions.

“I have ridden winners in 11 different countries, mostly through Europe and in Dubai,” he said.

“Back home, I usually ride at 54kg but down here where it’s warm I could go down to 53kg for a good ride, I’m a naturally light guy.”

Graberg said he would be keen to return to New Zealand in the future if his current stay works out well.

“The season starts back home in the middle of April, so Plan A is to be home for that,” he said.

“If I like it and people like me and I have a bit of success then I would like to come back next year for three or four months, so this is a test really to see if I like it of course and can get going.” – LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

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