Rocky apprentices selected to represent Qld in National series.

Published 6 March 2024

Rocky apprentices selected to represent Qld in National series.

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Two Rockhampton apprentice jockeys have been chosen among a team of eleven to represent Queensland in the upcoming National Apprentice Race Series.

Tahlia Fenlon, 20, and Brooke Johnson, 20, who incidentally were both born in Rockhampton and honed their skills on Central Queensland country tracks, were elated when Racing Queensland announced the State squad this week.

Both of them won a host of races on the Capricornia country circuit before gaining their provincial licences where they have also shone.

Fenlon commenced her apprenticeship with Callaghan Park trainer Fred Smith and after kicking off her race riding in May 2021, has gone on to ride 142 winners.

Undoubtedly that number would have been far greater only for Tahlia being off the scene for many months after a racing accident at Twin Hills in 2022.

Now based in Brisbane with trainer Chris Munce, Fenlon’s inclusion is timely as she rode her first Saturday metropolitan winner at Eagle Farm last weekend in a masterly display.

Brooke Johnson, the less experienced of the pair, has clocked up 79 winners since her race riding commenced with Rockhampton trainer Clinton Taylor in July 2022.

Both women were delighted to have been chosen to represent Queensland saying it was “a surprise and an honour.” 

The first race in the series on March 20 will be staged at Murray Bridge, South Australia where Fenlon will wear the Queensland silks. 

“I’ve never even been to South Australia so it will be interesting to ride at Murray Bridge where they go (race) the opposite way (anti-clockwise) to Queensland. Yeah, it is a good opportunity, and I am really happy to have been chosen. It is so good as I think my apprenticeship ends next January but after being out for so long with a leg injury earlier on, I hope to get that time extended,” Tahlia said.

Representing Queensland in the series in South Australia is an early birthday present for Fenlon as she celebrates her 21st birthday just 11 days later.

Because of her status having a Brisbane metropolitan jockey’s licence, Tahlia has also been chosen to ride in the National Series Final along with six other prominent Brisbane apprentices at Doomben on April 24. 

Brooke Johnson will head to the Northern Territory as Queensland’s representative for the series heat at Darwin on April 12 at Fannie Bay racecourse which also races ant1-clockwise.

“It was a lovely surprise when I was advised of the news. I have never ridden in Darwin nor been to the Northern Territory. I have never really thought that I would be going up there to ride in races although Clinton (Taylor) my master has always been saying he would like to see the racing there”, Brooke said.

Johnson is in for a busy week as she has rides at Rockhampton on Friday, Springsure (Saturday) and Mackay (Monday).

Tahlia Fenlon has rides for leading trainer Chris Waller and Chris Munce at the rich Jewel race meeting at the Gold Coast on Saturday.

Also chosen in the Queensland squad is another Rockhampton born woman Emily Lang 23, who commenced her apprenticeship in Brisbane where she is now indentured to Steve O’Dea and Matthew Hoysted.

Emily, always a keen equestrian, moved south to enter the racing industry not long after the completion of her education at Rockhampton Girls Grammar.

She enjoyed success in the National Series last year and rides in the Perth heat at Ascot, West Australia on April 4. 

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