Busy Stokes on the Mark for Belmont Debut

Mother, veterinarian nurse and horse trainer.

Geraldton-based Bonnie Stokes is a busy lady; she has a lot to pack in.

But for a short period on Wednesday Stokes will park two of her roles when she fulfills a personal ambition at Belmont.

The 28-year-old is set to saddle her first Perth runner with On The Mark tackling the Lexus Of Perth Handicap (1000m).

On The Mark makes the long trek from Geraldton after finishing runner-up at home when first up in May.

The three-year-old filled the same minor spot following his debut for previous trainer, Barry Newnham last November.

Stokes is determined to come away with her first win as a trainer and continue a trend of Geraldton horses holding their own when racing in Perth,’

Stokes is motivated by the challenge, but concedes she’s treading a fine line between excitement and nervous anticipation.

“I’m excited and looking forward to it,” Stokes said to The Races WA.

“I’m excited to see what is going to come.

“I’m looking forward to getting my first win.

“But there are also nerves and butterflies as well.”

Stokes is relatively new to the training caper, holding a license for a couple of years, but is no stranger to horses, having been involved with them for most of her life.

Only after becoming a mum and completing university studies six months ago did Stokes seriously consider dipping her toes into competitive training more permanently.

Helping, encouraging and coaxing her there was Newnham.

“I’ve only been really training since the end of last season,” said Stokes.

“I’ve been shadowing Barry who has been helping me a lot, teaching me the ropes.

“One of my uncles, Gordon Patten, also trained race horses.

“I’ve just been involved with horses basically my whole life.

“I’ve always been passionate about the racing industry.

“I bred a few of my own and spent a bit of money with a couple of yearlings and got one from over east.

“Barry just said to pull my finger out and that I should be training these horses myself.

“There were a few other people who told me I should do it.

“Vet nursing, a mum to a five month old baby, horse trainer, it’s pretty busy.

“It’s challenging, but rewarding and lucky that I have good support around me.”

Slow starts have been the enemy of On The Mark in both his Geraldton races before charging home with a strong turn of foot.

The Shooting To Win gelding is rated an $8 chance and will be ridden by Chris Nicoll.

“The main goal is to get him out,” Stokes said.

“He has ability, but is still quite green.

“He’s getting there and I think he’s capable of putting in a good effort, that’s for sure.”

About RS NewsWire

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