Roopesh Jaun didn’t let the inclement weather at Wingatui on Sunday curtail his enthusiasm, with the expat Mauritius jockey notching his first riding win aboard Atomic in the Property Brokers (1200m).
Jaun was having just his fourth raceday ride and the 21-year-old apprentice showed wisdom beyond his years with his daring race tactics in the Heavy10 conditions.
“After watching the first race, I saw they weren’t using the inside on the rail and most of the horses were running in the middle of the track,” he said.
“With the good draw (2), I thought I would stick on the rail and the ground would be good for the horse.”
His tactics paid off, with the pair taking control of the race from the jump, and eventually running out comfortable three-length victors.
“I was really happy getting that first win,” Jaun said.
Sunday’s result was a dream come true for Jaun, having dreamt of being a jockey since he was a child, and he has worked hard to follow his chosen career path.
“I have loved watching racing since I was a kid,” he said.
“One day my friend took me to the beach to see some horses and I spoke with one of the trainers there.
“I asked if I could help them for free to get some experience, and I worked there for two years.”
Jaun then spent a couple of years working at another stable before he was enticed to move to New Zealand by fellow jockey Gosen Jogoo.
“Gosen Jogoo came here (New Zealand) on a holiday and said there was a job going if I wanted to come to New Zealand,” Jaun said.
“He talked with Karen (Parsons, trainer) about me and then I went through the whole process to get my visa.”
Jaun spent one year with Parsons and her husband John before he was lured to Christchurch to take up an apprenticeship with Riccarton trainer Mike McCann.
He is loving life in his adopted homeland and said he hasn’t been put off by the cold winters.
“I love it here in New Zealand. It is beautiful and I love the winter,” he said.
Jaun has also been made to feel at home in Canterbury by fellow expat Mauritius jockeys Rohan and Krishna Mudhoo.
“Rohan worked with me so I got some great support. They have been a good mentor. If something goes wrong Krishna and Rohan are always there,” Jaun said.
While still coming down from the high of his win, Jaun is looking forward to heading to Ashburton on Thursday where he is hoping to add to his tally with Divine Dive in the Agraform Zumsil (1200m).
“I have got a good chance in the 75 1200m for Pam Robson, Divine Dive,” he said. “I think the horse will go alright."