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  • Provincial Racing NSW


BEN Osmond saw the irony in his first Saturday success in town.

He was the punters’ pal getting $3.30 favorite Kazou home by leading throughout in the last of a marathon 11-race program at Rosehill Gardens, for all-conquering trainer Chris Waller.

It was Osmond’s second Sydney winner, and he chuckled when reminded his first had provided a much different story.

He won a midweek Kensington race in August last year on a $21 resumer Cheerful Legend for Newcastle trainer Nathan Doyle, upsetting stablemate and $2.80 favorite Boston Rocks.

Nonetheless, it was hard work and a will to make his mark in town which led to him breaking the ice at a Sydney metropolitan Saturday meeting.

“I got a ride (Ring Ahoy) out of the blue for Chris at Kembla Grange in mid-May, and Lee Magorrian (who ran second in the same race) later suggested I should start going to Sydney to ride work for Chris,” Osmond explained.

So for the last few weeks, with the permission of his boss, leading Newcastle trainer Kris

Lees, the 25-year-old apprentice has set off at 3.30am each Wednesday morning to do just that at Rosehill.

He subsequently picked up a few city rides (including a placing on $21 chance Kapakiri at Rosehill on June 1) for Waller, and had three mounts (Kabou being the last) on Saturday.

“It was a terrific thrill,” Osmond said on Sunday. “For Chris to have the faith in me has given my confidence a real boost.”

Dungog-born Osmond was a late starter in racing, but was no stranger to horses when he “took the plunge”.

“Mum and Dad played polocrosse, so I have always been around horses,” he said.

“My brother and sister and myself went to pony club, but there was no family involvement in racing.

“I honestly didn’t know what I wanted to do after finishing school, and thought I had nothing to lose when I saw an advertisement for jobs in racing and contacted RacingNSW.

“I started with Kris Lees’ pre-training and spelling farm at Ellalong, and rode one or two horses in work as well as working on the ground.”

He then joined former champion jockey and great apprentice tutor Ron Quinton, who got him going riding in trials.

Osmond spent a considerable time with Quinton learning the ropes before linking with Todd Howlett, and subsequently Paul Perry and Kris Lees at Newcastle.

His victory on Kabou was his career 55th – and he’s not resting on his laurels.

“Josh Barrett (who also manages Lee Magorrian) is looking after my rides, and I’ll be back in town on Saturday,” Osmond said.

“I’ve already got four or five bookings, including some for Chris Waller and one for Kris (Lees).”

Osmond rides at 55kg, and is eligible to claim 3kg both in town and at the provincials, and 1.5kg at country meetings.

A modest young man, he says, like every jockey he would like to compete in major races, but his immediate goal is simply to ride his next winner.

. HOOFNOTE: Osmond’s triumph on Kabou sent patrons at Dungog Bowling Club into a frenzy.

“Mum and Dad watched the race there, and said the place went wild when I won,” he told us.

Story John Curtis, June 30, 2024 - Pics Bradley Photos

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