Today’s meeting at Moe was momentous for two young jockeys, with Tom Stockdale riding a treble for the first time in his career and Ethan Brown claiming the RMBL Investments Rising Stars Series for the second successive season.
Having outridden his apprentice’s claim earlier in the year, Brown did not compete in the 23rd race of the series at Moe, which was won by Stockdale on the $4.40 favourite Gazzara – the third leg of his maiden treble.
But the scratching of his nearest rival Teo Nugent’s mount meant Brown had built an unassailable lead on 74 points. That marked back-to-back series wins for the 20-year-old, who overhauled long-time leader Steph Thornton in the Rising Stars Final at Flemington 12 months ago.
The Alice Springs native carried that momentum into this season, laying down early markers with victories at Bendigo and Geelong, in November 2018 and January 2019 respectively. Three straight wins during the autumn period – at Seymour, Bendigo and Echuca – saw Brown surge well clear of his rivals and, despite the best efforts of Nugent (44 points), he now cannot be caught.
Brown wins a $6,000 retail voucher and he will be presented with the Rising Stars trophy after the final at Flemington on Saturday, 20 July, when the minor placings will also be decided.
As for Stockdale, the treble took his tally to six wins from 13 rides – a remarkable strike rate of 46% – since he returned from Paris, where he competed in the Longines Future Racing Stars.
The Moe meeting was also notable for the race debut of first-year apprentice Carleen Hefel, who finished fourth in the Ladbrokes Class 1 Handicap (1017m) on Quenton, trained by her master Julien Welsh.
“I was pretty nervous before the race, but once the barriers opened and she jumped I switched into race mode,” Hefel told Racing.com.
“She ran really well, coming round the turn I thought I had a chance, but the outside was probably the place to be and she got a little tired towards the line.
“Obviously I would’ve loved to start my career with a win, but it wasn’t to be and I’m still pretty happy with how it went. Hopefully it won’t be too long before I can get my first win.”