Queensland currently leads the way in the 2019 National Apprentice Race Series (NARS), but with two legs left there is still time for Victoria to launch a late defence of its crown.
After Wednesday’s penultimate leg in Strathalbyn, where Lewis German will fly the flag for Victoria, the series comes to an end next week with the finale at Ladbrokes Park Hillside (Sandown).
Should in-form apprentice Maddy Wishart claim victory – and with it the maximum seven points – on the Chris Bieg-trained Raheeba in the 1350 metre contest in SA in two days’ time, Queensland would gain an unassailable lead in the 2019 NARS. But if not, the series will go down to the wire at Sandown next Wednesday.
Victoria will face some stiff competition in the final leg, with Irish apprentice Chris Graham set to line up for Tasmania. Graham came to prominence earlier this year when he partnered Mystical Pursuit – the half-sister to All-Star Mile and Australian Guineas heroine Mystic Journey – to back-to-back wins at Listed level.
Raced by trainer Adam Trinder and owner Wayne Roser, the same combination behind Mystic Journey’s meteoric rise, Mystical Pursuit has won all four of her career starts – with Graham in the saddle on each occasion.
Other apprentices in action include Kayla Crowther, another in-form hoop who will represent South Australia despite currently being on loan to Pakenham trainer Phillip Stokes.
Stephanie Lacy, who is indentured to Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Sheila Laxon, will ride for Queensland whilst another female apprentice, Kate Witten, will represent her native Western Australia.