KINGSTON, Jamaica – Leading female apprentice rider Samantha Fletcher says she is hoping to return to the saddle with a bang when racing restarts, hopefully, within the next few weeks.
Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL), the sole promoter of local thoroughbred racing in the island, was forced to cease racing operations indefinitely on March 21, due to the spread of COVID-19.
And with the Government slowly taking steps to reopen the economy, the promoters recently issued a 10-race-day projection in preparation for the return of races at Caymanas Park. Stakeholders are of the view that they could restart on June 13.
After an up and down couple of months involving a serious kidney injury, Fletcher is raring to go again.
“I am fit, healthy, and ready to go once racing resumes at Caymanas Park. I had returned to competitive race riding on March 4 after an injury and I rode a couple of race days before COVID-19 stopped racing. I was really getting back into my groove but with this break I have to come again and I am ready to do so,” Fletcher said.
Having so far ridden 10 winners from 241 mounts, Fletcher is not overly disappointed with the interruption to her comeback by the highly contagious virus as she is using the break to get stronger.
“I am not really disappointed because I now have a little bit more time to get myself fully ready, and get a little firmer. I have been at the track every morning working out horses and this will help me a lot to strengthen my thing. I am coming back with a bang,” she predicted.
Fletcher’s unique position in horseracing as a female jockey doesn’t go unnoticed, as she has already made a name for herself as a tough and spirited competitor with her never-say-die attitude in the saddle.
“Being a female jockey is not easy, as it comes with many challenges. All of the time you have to prove to everyone that you are just as strong as the male riders and that you are not going to give up that easily.
“Like any profession you take time practising and preparing before you begin the job. To prepare I exercise horses, I jog often, I stick to my diet and even take advice from other jockeys and trainers as well,” she said.
“I always want to improve my skills, and each day I learn more and more. I want to be better; I want to the best that I can be. If they [trainers] are looking for a rider with 46.0kg, I can give them that because I am always working,” Fletcher continued.