Magic ride from Grafton's rising star
Leah Kilner matched it with the best on Magic Millions Raceday at the Gold Coast on Saturday.
The Grafton apprentice jockey made the trip across the border for one start at the prestigious meeting, aboard Glorius Ruby for trainer Bryan Dais in the Quality $125,000 Aquis Gold Pearl (1100m) for two-year-old fillies - the biggest race of her burgeoning career to date.
Previously unraced and unfancied at $61, Kilner rode Glorious Ruby into second spot behind Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott trained Swift Witness ($4.80, Glen Boss).
Kilner was among esteemed company throughout the race, including top jockeys Craig Williams, Larry Cassidy, Jim Byrne and former Clarence Valley product Tegan Harrison. But she more than held her own.
Glorious Ruby jumped smartly away from barrier one, Kilner settled into sixth on the fence at at the 800m mark, before making her move at the turn for home where she managed to charge through a gap and hold off fast-finishing Miss Hipstar ($4.20, Larry Cassidy).
In a perfectly timed run, Glorious Ruby did lead for a short time before being collared in the straight by Swift Witness, who stormed three lengths clear for the win.
“Leah is a very dedicated young lady, full of ability, with her dad Greg Kilner in charge of her apprenticeship,” strapper Peter McLellan said.
“It does not matter if she has a day of riding in races anywhere in NSW or Queensland, whenever required she will be there at 4am in the morning to start stable work and ride track work.
“She is very intelligent and always eager to chat with other staff members or racing people in order to move forward and to obtain the best results.”