Youngster rides high

WHEN Jesse Riley rode the Ken Lantry trained Intermac to victory at Port Macquarie on Monday, there were a lot of racing people in Coffs Harbour who were thrilled for the 18-year-old.

Not only did the win represent Riley's first ever winner but it was sure sign that the apprentice jockey had recovered from a wretched run of luck.

Having broken his ankle in trackwork at Coffs Harbour, the former Taree boy was set to return to the track before a wretched twist of fate put those plans on hold.

Attending a party with friends, Riley was standing near the fire when someone stupidly threw methylated spirits on the flames.

Suffering severe burns down his right side, Riley was forced to spend three weeks in hospital to have his burns treated and another couple of months on top of that away from the track.

All that was forgotten on Monday though as he rode home the winner.

Leading as he came into the straight, Riley showed a level head for someone with little race experience when favourite Dame Danehill with Peter Graham headed Intermac and looked the likely winner.

Using his four kilogram claim to advantage, Riley timed the final effort to perfection to win by half a length.

"It was a relief that I'd finally won," he admitted.

Riley needs another four winners to outride his country claim and there may be one on Monday at Taree.

With three rides next to his name for the day, Riley may claim another.

The Lantry trained Seekadane in the sixth race is a first-up specialist and has been drawn nicely.

For someone who's endured what this young man has, some more winners would be richly deserved.

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