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Arran jockey Nicola Currie has beat the odds to secure her first treble win at at a race meeting.
The 24-year-old apprentice said it was a ‘huge surprise’ to score three track victories last Thursday on Titan Goddess, Marshall Aid and Spare Parts at Chelmsford City Racecource.
The wins came hours before Nicola was the subject of a major sports feature in last week’s Arran Banner. As we told readers Nicola has been racing for four years, completing more than 250 races, but this is the first time she has scored three wins on one racecard, bringing her career tally to 26 wins.
The rising star told The Racing Post she had been full of confidence in her mounts but the hat-trick had been totally unexpected. ‘It was a good evening,’ Nicola said. ‘I certainly didn’t think the treble would come through but I was hopeful for Titan Goddess and I knew Spare Parts would give a good account.
‘In the past few weeks I have been looking for that double. To finally get it and make it a treble was a huge surprise. I have to try to get the next one now. Riding a treble makes 100 per cent difference to my confidence. That grew even as I was riding last night. I can take that confidence into the next meeting.’
Nicola was born and raised on Arran, attending Shiskine Primary and Arran High School. At the tender age of 16, she took her first steps towards attaining her dream by going to Edinburgh’s Outridge College to study horse management.
Later, Grand national winning trainers Lucinda Russell and Peter Scudamore spotted Nicola’s potential, giving her a start in the industry. Although Nicola was initially interested in jumps racing, Scudamore persuaded her to get a flat licence and her career has flourished since.
‘I realised I was never going to be a jump jockey because I was too light but Lucinda got me my apprentice licence out and gave me my first ride and was then kind enough to let me move south to pursue my career. Even now Lucinda and Peter Scudamore have been behind me,’ Nicola said.
Now signed to trainer Richard Hughes, Nicola shares an agent with British flat racing champion Josephine Gordon, who became only the second female to ride 100 winners in a year in 2017.
Nicola also has other trainers behind her, such as Phil McEntee and Mark Usher, who are lending significant support to her career.
‘Josie rode for Phil McEntee the previous two years and with her riding out her claim he was looking for another claimer to use,’ Nicola added
‘Richard specifically put me with [agent] Phil Shea, the reason being he had Josie, who can also do light weights, so if there was something she couldn’t ride the hope was he could put my name forward.’
The Arran apprentice says she is aiming for the top and hopes to follow in the footsteps of champion, Josephine Gordon.’If I can follow in her footsteps even halfway it would be an absolute achievement. That’s the plan anyway,’ she said.
‘If we can have a good all-weather season then it makes sense to go for champion flat apprentice championship come summer. It’s definitely achievable. You have to be realistic but at the same time you have to push yourself. You don’t want to make a ridiculous goal because you will only disappoint yourself but you need something to aim at. Aim high and hopefully get there.’
Trainer Phil McEntee is betting on more success from Nicola. He told The Racing Post: ‘We tried to target an apprentice we could use for the all-weather season through the winter.
‘Two years ago, Josephine was claiming seven, we liked the way she rode and the rest is history. It’s exactly the same with Nicola. We watched her through the summer and struck a verbal agreement that she would be stable jockey for the winter with me having first shout after Richard Hughes.’
After clocking up the treble win, Nicola is edging closer to her goal this year of becoming apprentice champion, and turning professional. She admits that she was never short of ambition.
‘I didn’t just want to be a stable girl, I wanted to be a jockey. At the time It was a ridiculous goal but we’ve got there. I wasn’t for giving up,’ Nicola said.
‘Not many jockeys come from Arran. I think everybody goes to the pub to watch me now,’ she joked.
Nicola Currie last week rode three winners on one racecard. 01_B03nicola01