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Hannah’s New Chapter

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Hannah Phillips relished her Wondai win aboard the Kym Afford-trained Star Painter in July
(Photo: Ross Stanley)

Gunsynd's Gossip
August 26, 2019

A recent let-down for jockey Hannah Phillips is probably symbolic of the trials and tribulations all jockeys endure.

After competing at Gympie just over a week ago, Hannah was bed-ridden on Sunday and hospitalised with pneumonia for the next three days.

Meanwhile, Shez Our Destiny – one of her four bookings for Warwick – scored, depriving the South Burnett rider the opportunity of booting home her first winner as a senior.

Hannah Phillips was apprenticed to her father Barry.

After a decade away, he returned to the training ranks specifically to mentor her and invested in horses like the warrior Captain Clayton to give her race day opportunities.

Phillips has also valued her mother Jenny Barry’s extremely strong support.

Hannah’s first engagement as a junior was on Lucidity, a second placegetter at Roma, in February 2014.

Her final outing with “a” in brackets was on August 10 at Toowoomba on the unplaced, ironically named galloper Begin.

Given that Hannah broke her knee in July 2014 and suffered a bout of double pneumonia in May 2016, lasting the distance has been an achievement in itself.

But her determination, dedication, love for her profession and the backing of the key figures in her life saw her survive the rigours of the trade.

Hannah and Barry Phillips with Captain Clayton (lower left) after the team’s Nanango victory at 2015’s Easter race meeting (Photo: Ross Stanley)

Hannah’s initial victory on April 19, 2014 on Pat Sexton’s charge Kilgharrah was registered at Nanango.

Lee Park was her most productive work site.

It was the source of 17 winners, with Wondai providing her with a dozen first places from just 49 attempts.

Appropriately, Hannah’s last success during her indentureship was at Bundaberg on First Bid, the chestnut prepared at Wondai by Janene Armstrong.

All up, Hannah Phillips partnered 519 horses in her 1100 assignments at some 50 racecourses.

Her 116 victories were recorded on 86 individual horses for 37 trainers.

She was podium placed 239 times for a very healthy 32.2 per cent top three strike rate.

Her mounts collected $1,114,858 in prize money plus $800 in trophies and $112,600 in QTIS bonuses.

Oakey conditioner Bradley Hudson saddled up the most winners for Hannah with Jeptoo’s tally of seven topping the total of nineteen.

Other trainers in the leading squad were Darryl Gardiner (13 wins with Al’s Briefs contributing four), Bevan Johnson (10) and her father Barry (nine with Captain Clayton saluting five times).

Toowoomba’s Matt Kropp, also with nine success stories, legged Hannah aboard her most lucrative aspirants with Spirit’s Choice worthy of special mention.

Hannah Phillips has already publicly expressed her thanks to a host of connections who have been instrumental in her career to date.

On November 11 last year, Barry’s mare Lisa Fashionista’s colt by Chestnut Valley was born.

As Hannah kicks off her new chapter, the yearling chestnut does likewise.

It would be a just reward for all the tough hours, the hurdles and the endless travel for the Phillips team to have fun with him, particularly seeing that Hannah has ridden both his parents.

Racing is certainly all about having something to look forward to, and Hannah Phillips is a delightfully co-operative and enthusiastic character.

Her clearly ingrained work ethic will ensure that stables will continue to show their appreciation of her efforts by asking her to sport their raceday silk.

The Phillips family pictured after Captain Clayton prevailed at Nanango in May 2015
(Photo: Ross Stanley)

* * *

Bits And Bridles

  • A shortage in the numbers of available riders at rural meetings is firming up as a definite trend. The number of scratchings at recent meetings because a suitable rider was not available were Prairie (12), Middlemount (8), Cunnamulla (7), Charleville (6), Mount Isa (5), Bowen (4) and Longreach (2).
  • A comparison between the number of apprenticeships in place in 2004 and 2019 is also concerning. According to the August issue of the relevant official publications (ie Queensland Racing Magazine and Race Magazine), there has been a significant decrease over the past 15 years. While the number of apprentices at Metropolitan and Country tracks has remained roughly the same, the number at Provincial tracks is down by two-thirds (39 in 2014 to 12 in 2019). And the number of trainees has also halved (six in 2004 down to three in 2019). Overall, the main point is that the total statewide number of indentured riders has dropped from 74 in 2004 to 46 this year. Racing Queensland is aware of the problem and has restructured the allowance system. However, this is a multi-faceted issue and a range of factors are likely to be impacting on the state of the matter.
  • A sleeping worry is the potential long term burnout for the current energetic apprentices who naturally take up offers that require a great deal of travel and coping with pressure and physical demands. Hopefully some monitoring is in place.
  • South Burnett yards had a quiet weekend. The best outcome went to Machu Picchu. The consistent mare was only a long neck short of success in the $19,000 Open Handicap (1200m) at Kilcoy. The $4.80 chance led most of the way for Hannah English after being bumped at the start. Glenn Richardson’s Nanango team has entries for the Sunshine Coast on Wednesday and Rockhampton the next day.
  • Date Reminders: Nanango Race Club’s Spring Florals meeting is on Saturday, September 14, and Wondai’s next fixture is on Caulfield Cup Day, October 19. Kumbia’s annual program is on Melbourne Cup day on Tuesday, November 5. Nanango closes out the year on Sunday, December 1, with its Christmas affair.

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