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Gaudray goes for glory in the Rising Stars Series Final

12 July 2023 Written by RV Media Release

In-form apprentice jockey Celine Gaudray hopes to tick off the first of two items on her 2023 wish-list when she rides Pitchanun (trained by Danny O’Brien) in the RMBL Investments Rising Stars Series Final (1600m) at Flemington this Saturday.

Ahead of the $80,000 final, which brings the curtain down on the apprentice-only series after 24 heats, Gaudray (62 points) holds a five-point advantage over her nearest rival Matt Chadwick (57), who will require a top-two finish on Swelter Magic (Kevin Corstens) to stand any chance of overtaking the long-time leader.

Gaudray’s previously strong grip on the series has loosened in recent weeks, with Chadwick mounting a late charge for the Rising Stars trophy and the accompanying $4,000 retail voucher awarded to the winner courtesy of his victories at Moe in May and Seymour in June.

But after riding a double at Caulfield last Saturday to maintain her challenge in the Victorian apprentice jockeys’ metropolitan premiership, which represents her other chief goal this season, Gaudray goes into the finale full of confidence. Her prospects of victory have been further boosted by Pitchanun’s rich vein of recent form, with the mare having won two of her last three starts.

“I’d obviously love to win both the apprentices’ premiership and the Rising Stars,” said the 21-year-old, whose partner and fellow jockey Ethan Brown is a two-time winner of the series.

“They’ve both been goals of mine but I’d also be happy with either one, and the Rising Stars is probably my best chance. I’ve never ridden Pitchanun before but we’ve drawn a good gate and she’s been in great form, so hopefully that can continue in the final.

“Matt is riding at Flemington for the first time on Saturday whereas I’ve ridden there a few times before, so hopefully that will also be to my advantage.” - Celine Gaudray

The Rising Stars Series Final, which is the third race on the program, is scheduled to start at 1.10pm.

Points in each leg of the Rising Stars Series are awarded down to fifth place, with the winner receiving 12, six points awarded for second, four for third, two for fourth and one point for the fifth finisher. The overall winner of the series will receive a $4,000 retail voucher and the Rising Stars trophy, with a $2,000 voucher given to the runner-up and third place collecting a $1,000 voucher.

Carleen Hefel (44 points), who currently leads Gaudray by three wins in the apprentice jockeys’ premiership, could also leap into the top three of the Rising Stars leaderboard provided she finishes either first or second on Crimson Light (trained by Mick Kent).

Matt Cartwright (36 points), who won the Rising Stars Series last season, is also in with an outside chance of a top-three finish but would require victory aboard last-start runner-up Playing It Safe, trained by Lindsey Smith. The same goes for Tom Prebble (36 points) who pilots Tasmanian visitor Ole Ola, a winner of her last three starts in Hobart.

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