By Ross Stanley
While aspiring jockeys may dream of winning at their first attempt, few would contemplate finishing their first day at the office with a two-from-two result.
Even more improbable would be landing two quadrellas part-way through their apprenticeship.
Well, Billie-Rose Derbyshire has done all that.
The teenager started off at Barry and Desiree Gill’s stables in Gympie weighing a mere 38 kilograms.
But stable chores, trackwork and some dietary changes built up her strength and on July 30, 2011 the debutante rider landed a double with Noname (narrowly beating Frenardi) and Leica Fuse on home soil for Gill.
Billie-Rose’s next 19 engagements yielded six more victories (consisting of three doubles) including Gympie’s Nolan’s Meats Muster Cup feature race and a Gladstone Newmarket.
There were two visits to the runner-up slot as well.
“Desiree taught me to ride and was a great beginning influence,” Billie-Rose said.
“She got off good horses and she and Barry gave me strong chances.
“But some self-imposed pressures developed and I decided to quit in December 2011 and study at uni to be a primary teacher.”
However – after discussions with Racing Queensland – Billie-Rose returned to trackwork at Gympie in January 2012. And after a period with Robert Wilson at Caloundra, she linked up with Kerry Munce in September 2102.
Derbyshire has certainly bounced back since then.
She was the leading South-East Queensland country apprentice in 2011-12 and 2012-13. And for the present season to early May, she has a form line of 149 for 25:15:18, a winning strike rate of 17.9 per cent and a 39 per cent place record.
Her overall tally is now around the 60 winners mark.
This year Billie-Rose has also twice gone close to riding the card.
On March 1, she combined with Munce at their local Gympie South Side course to salute on Tallahatchie, River of Glory and Frisco Rain before the last-gasp nose victory by the wonderful warhorse Frenardi made it four for the team.
The 21-year-old just missed a place on her other mount Brown Eyed Miss.
But she went even better at Bundaberg last Saturday, scoring on Munce’s entrants Remy Martini and Frisco Rain, the Mark Lewis trained Red Mint and William Melvin’s charge Decadent.
It was up to old favourite Frenardi to register his 20th career success and make it five from five for his junior partner.
Alas, the gallant nine-year-old, with a 6.5kg disadvantage, went down by two lengths to Golden Cash, the hot pot saddled up by Nanango’s Glenn Richardson.
At Burrandowan this Saturday, Billie-Rose has engagements for the Barry Gill trio Balinese Boy, Astralin and Lady’s Command, along with Desert Lair, and will get the opportunity to bag another quartet.
But she’ll have to wait to fight another day for a full hand of winners because she doesn’t have a mount in the penultimate contest.