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Apprentice Daniel fired up for Norfolk stable success

PUBLISHED: 16:25 22 June 2011

Apprentice jockey Daniel Harris with Blazing Apostle, his favourite horse at Christine Dunnett's yard. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Apprentice jockey Daniel Harris with Blazing Apostle, his favourite horse at Christine Dunnett's yard. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

Apprentice jockey Daniel Harris is hoping to punch well above his feather weight in the search for success this season.

Daniel, who tips the scales at 7st 10lb, recently joined the team at Christine Dunnett’s College Farm, Hingham stables.

And he is hoping to reward her faith in him by riding a winner for her soon.

Daniel, who is 18, hopes to make good use of the 7lb weight allowance he gets as a rookie apprentice.

That allowance will decrease as he rides more and more winners, until eventually he rides out his claim and qualifies as a professional. The first target is 20 wins which will see his allowance drop to 5lb – 95 winners will enable him to join the pro ranks.

It is a long, hard, road ahead that many aspiring pilots do not reach the end of but Daniel is nothing if not determined.

“Only another 94 wins to go then,” smiled Daniel.

“You have got be massively dedicated to make it as a professional and you need a good trainer behind you.”

In teaming up with Christine, Daniel is following in the footseps of Hayley Turner and Kirsty Milczarek, who both enjoyed their share of success with the Norfolk handler in the early stages of their careers and are now leading ladies in the Sport of Kings.

Hayley became the first woman to ride 100 UK Flat race winners in a calendar year in 2008.

“Christine is a lovely person and I am sure she will help me make the most of my ability,” said Daniel. He hails from Witney, Oxfordshire, and studied at the Newmarket Racing School before joining the Lambourn, Berkshire stable of multiple Classic-winning trainer Barry Hills. He rode one winner on board Music Maestro in an apprentice race at Bath and is hoping for more first-past-the-post success. “I would love to ride quite a few winners for Christine – hopefully it won’t be long now,” said Daniel,” who has had third places on Captainrisk (Yarmouth) and Norcroft (Southwell) as well as fourth places on Blazing Apostle (Yarmouth) and Norcroft (Yarmouth).

He will also be free to ride for other owners and trainers, providing Christine agrees. He said he enjoys the intimate, friendly atmosphere of working and living at a small yard, where he gets involved in all aspects of the operation. “It’s all part of being an apprentice – you have got to earn your rides and your keep,” he said.

Daniel said he ended up at the Dunnett yard purely by chance.

“I rung her up quite a few times inquiring about rides and she said she was looking for an apprentice and it went from there,” he said.

Christine, who has taken over the day-to day running of the yard after head girl Shelley Charda decided to leave, said she had initially been impressed by Daniel’s enthusiasm before offering him the apprentice’s job.

“He has fitted in well and been a great asset to the yard. I think he is a lad who will make it.”

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