IRISH born apprentice Chris Graham celebrated a winner at his first ride in Australia when he partnered Neilson to an all-the-way win in a class three handicap over 1150 metres on the Luxbet All Weather at Spreyton last Saturday.
Graham arrived in Australia from Ireland almost four years go with the hope of finding his way into the riding ranks in Victoria but about six months into his journey he suffered a fractured pelvis that sidelined him for almost a year.
In the meantime his wife Natalie fell pregnant and to support his expanded family he opted to take up a position as a trackwork rider for Lloyd Williams in order to provide a steady income.
Trainer Adam Trinder was made aware of Graham about six months ago and offered him an opportunity to restart his apprenticeship and he saw it as an ideal opportunity to start afresh.
“Chris is a very talented young rider who was almost lost in the system. His his name came up in a conversation I had with Tasracing’s Simon Stout when I was on the lookout for a new apprentice,” Trinder said.
“I spoke to Chris and told him what we had to offer and he came over about six months ago and he’s been here ever since.
“He had to go through the normal procedure of riding in a set number of trials and he was probably ready to go about a month ago but we waited for the right opportunity where he might land a winner first-up and Neilson was that horse,” he said.
Graham fired Nelson from the gates to easily lead a handy field and he waited until entering the home straight before calling on the four-year-old to fully extend.
Neilson ($12.30) booted two lengths clear and then staved off all challengers over the concluding stages to score by a neck from Underplay ($3.10) with the well-backed Siorca $3.40) a close-up third.
Graham, 22, is a natural lightweight who can ride comfortably at 51.5 kilograms.
“I’m sure Chris will be a great a great asset to the stable.”