Aussie jockey Caitlin Jones relishing Dubai opportunity

Aussie jockey Caitlin Jones relishing Dubai opportunity

A trip to Dubai will be a whole new experience for Australian jockey Caitlin Jones, who is set to travel to the UAE next week to partner He’s A Balter at the Dubai World Cup Carnival.

The 32-year-old, based at Morphetville, near Adelaide in South Australia, took over from Linda Meech for He’s A Balter’s most recent run, when the Will Clarken-trained gelding finished third in the listed Christmas Handicap at Morphettville on December 11.

That run set him up perfectly for his trip to Dubai, where he will be aimed at the Carnival’s lucrative turf sprint program, and Caitlin is excited about the opportunity.

“I have never before been to Dubai but certainly had it as one place in the world to travel to in the future,” she says. “Meydan is a world-class racecourse.

 

“Just the experience of getting to a part of a carnival is so prestigious. The best jockeys from around the world go to Dubai to race and it will be a privilege to be among those riders.

”I’m excited to see the training facilities and the outstanding grandstand in real life, not just looking at pictures. I want to make the most of my days by learning about the culture and the making of such a fascinating city. And, of course, meeting so many new people who all have such a passion and respect for horseracing.”

Caitlin has a background in horses – “I was in the stables in my pram at just a few days old” – and has racked up 274 winners so far, including a pair of listed successes. Over the past six months she has built a closer association with the Clarken stable, who will also travel 7-year-old gelding Parsifal to Dubai.

“Since becoming a senior rider, I have tried to establish a place in a few stables at Morphettville as it is very competitive,” she adds. “I would say it is only over the last six months that I have got more involved with Will Clarken’s stable, and I try to ride as much as I possibly can for him. Todd Pannell is stable rider for him and his team and deservedly so.”

He’s A Balter represents managing owner Anthony Panozzo, who previously travelled to Dubai with another sprinter, Illustrious Lad, who was fifth in the 2008 Al Quoz Sprint. That will be the ultimate target for He’s A Balter, assuming he progresses through the Carnival.

“There is really only one word for He’s A Balter – gentleman,” says Caitlin. “He’s a pleasure to ride and to be around in the stables. He enjoys pats and cuddles but is very genuine in his efforts out on the racetrack.”

There will be plenty of pats and cuddles if He’s A Balter can bring about a famous Aussie success for his enthusiastic connections.