IN Racing
Frye back in the saddle
Former stakes-winning apprentice jockey Ashley Frye will be back in the saddle at Riccarton on Wednesday, but this time in the amateur ranks.
Joshua Smith, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk | August 08, 2023
Photo: Trish Dunell

Former stakes-winning apprentice jockey Ashley Frye will be back in the saddle at Riccarton on Wednesday, but this time in the amateur ranks.

Frye loved her time as an apprentice, winning 75 races in her two-year stint, including two at stakes level, before a race fall brought an end to her professional riding career.

The then 18-year-old was involved in a fall as a result of her mount, Zuleika, suffering a heart attack and was placed in an induced coma.

She made a full recovery, however, she didn’t make a return to raceday riding and pursued a training career instead.

“After my accident I had a few setbacks. I tried to come back too fast and I was constantly failing the assessments,” Frye said.

“My confidence got knocked a wee bit, not so much on the horse just more from getting pushed back all the time.

“I got my teeth into training and I haven’t looked back since.”

Frye has trained 15 winners but always felt the pull of raceday riding. While she didn’t see herself coming back in a professional capacity, she got inspiration from her father Danny and elected to follow his path into the amateur ranks.

“It’s been nine years now and I have always missed riding,” Frye said.

“My father has always had his amateur license so I thought it would be pretty cool to join in too.

“The amateur riding gives me a bit of a taste, it’s just a shame there is only one in the South Island but hopefully over time we might get a few more opportunities.”

Frye made her amateur debut last season and is looking forward to getting back in the saddle at Riccarton Park’s Synthetic meeting on Wednesday where she will ride the Lance Robinson-trained Devil In Disguise in the Nautical Insurance Grand National Amateur Championship (2200m).

“I am pretty excited about tomorrow,” Frye said.

“He (Devil In Disguise) has got some genuine form on the polytrack so I am very excited about riding him.”

Frye will have dual roles at the Christchurch meeting, putting on her training hat earlier in the day when lining up Darkhan Roar in the Elmwood Trading Co Maiden (1400m).

He is going to be a time prospect,” she said.

“We are just trying to adjust a few things and ride him a bit colder because he is still a big baby. He is probably one to look out for next year with a bit more practice under his belt.

“I was lucky enough to get him through Windsor Park. I have leased him for a few years. He has got some very nice breeding on the page.”

Frye will return to Riccarton on Saturday where she will line-up Astradeel.

“He will most likely be going on holiday after Saturday and freshen those legs for the Cup Carnival,” she said.

“When he is good, he is a pretty genuine horse, but he is very fussy when it comes to track conditions. He can be a hard one to follow."

Ashley Frye Astradeel Darkhan Roar Devil In Disguise