by Jeff Hanson – NSW Country and Picnic Racing
Heading into Friday’s Murwillumbah Cup meeting, Jasper Franklin was only 37 starts into his burgeoning career, having already booted home four winners and made a name for himself in Northern NSW as an apprentice to watch.
In a performance that will live with the 18-year-old for the rest of his days, Franklin then had four rides for an incredible four wins on Friday’s Showcase program, including a victory in the Tygalgah Cup aboard the Stephen Lee trained Pleased.
“I rode my first four winners and my first cup winner on the same day – it doesn’t get much better than that,” Franklin said.
“After riding three winners, I was pretty happy but riding a cup winner really put the cherry on top of the cake.”
The Grafton product, who is the son of former jockey Craig Franklin, is apprentice to Matthew Dunn, and he rode a double for his boss, along with a good winner for David McColm.
Kicking off Franklin’s big day, Our Rebel started a $2.70 favourite in the 1550m Class Two Handicap, and the pair were too good for their rivals, winning by nearly three lengths.
Franklin had another comfortable victory in the 1200m Class One Handicap, prevailing on the Dunn trained Courageous, with his mount starting a $2 favourite before winning by 3.71 lengths.
In a tighter result, the young hoop worked hard to get another $2 favourite, Sweeping The Board, over the line in the 1100m Benchmark 58 Handicap, winning by a mere 0.36 of a length.
It wouldn’t be until the final race of the day that Franklin rode his fourth winner, securing the Tygalgah Cup when Pleased ($9) stormed home down the outside to win the 2020m race by less than a length.
Franklin admitted he had some very good rides but was extremely surprised to land four winners on the day.
“I was really confident with my first three rides. I thought they were my best of the day and they all won well,” Franklin said.
“I was really surprised with Steve’s (Pleased), I knew it won its last start, but it really surprised me with the way it hit the line at end.”
It has been a cracking start to a promising career, but Franklin was not getting too far ahead of himself and was prepared to work harder to impress trainers and owners alike.
“It was a huge thrill, yesterday it brought up my 41st ride and to have four winners on the day, especially on a showcase day, it was great,” Franklin said.
“It’s good to get those winners, but obviously to get on the good horses and the $2 favourites helps too, and you need to be showing that you’re capable of getting the job done and that’s all I am worried about right now.
“Today, I was straight back into trackwork, then working out and it is good to thrive on success and get better as a rider, but you don’t let it go to your head, you need to go back to your job.”
Franklin thanked those around him for the support early in his career, with Matt and Keira Dunn, who trained four winners at Murwillumbah on Friday, giving the three-kilogram claimer every possible chance.
“They’ve really guided me in the right direction, Matt and Keira have helped me from day one,” Franklin said.
“I rocked up as a 16-year-old kid wanting to be a good jockey and they have been there all the way, and my dad (Craig Franklin) has really guided me on the right path, keeping me out of trouble and helping me out.”
It wasn’t just a huge day for Franklin on Friday, but also the Tweed River Jockey Club, with the running of the Murwillumbah Cup and Newmarket Handicap.
In the feature event of the day, Stewart Campbell and Ben Looker combined to win the $50,000 cup with Macchina Volante, holding off Ready to Humble and Willo Titto.
In the $40,000 Newmarket, Daniel Bowen teamed up with Kirk Matheson when Amirykal won the 1200m jump and run event, holding off See It Thru and Zanthus. For full results, readers can click here.