Christmas comes early for young apprentice at Randwick races

Five years ago, Jake Barrett turned up at Tulloch Lodge armed with determination and a dream, but zero experience with horses.

Fast forward to Randwick on Saturday and the 24-year-old apprentice celebrated his first metropolitan win aboard Belleistic Kids for training trio Barbara Joesph and her sons Paul and Matt Jones.

“I lobbed up on Gai Waterhouse’s doorstep about five years ago not knowing a single thing,” Barrett said.

“I had (fellow jockey) Quayde Krogh and my current manager Justin McIntosh, who took me under his wing.

“There were ups and downs, times where they didn’t think I was going to make it, I didn’t think I was going to make it.

“I just worked really hard and to do it here today, you have no idea how satisfying it is.”

As with most apprentices starting out, Barrett has honed his skills primarily on the country circuit, riding at some far-flung venues “around dirt tracks and tin sheds”.

Prior to Saturday, he had ridden 68 winners, 67 of those on country tracks and one at the provincials.

It is a hard slog and earlier this year, he admits questioning whether he would ever be able to forge a viable career path before the Joseph and Jones stable stepped in.

“I could give them all a big kiss right now,” Barrett said.

“They pulled me out of the dumps when I was at my lowest. I was probably going to give the game away and they gave me a new lease of life and said, ‘çome on Jake, move to Canberra and give it a really good crack. We can do this’.

“Only six months ago I was driving to Enngonia, staying the night at Bourke and eating Chinese food, so the fact I’m here today on the big stage and to do it for Paul, Matt and Barb, it just means the world to me.”

Paul Jones said he had expected Belleistic Kids to be competitive in the Doyle’s Breeding and Racing Handicap (1600m) after finishing runner-up to the smart Tavi Time in the Mudgee Cup last start.

He is keen to qualify the four-year-old for the 2024 Big Dance after the stable produced Super Helpful to run third in this year’s $3 million Melbourne Cup Day feature.

“He will have a couple of weeks off now and go to the Bega Cup probably second-up,” Paul Jones said.

“It is (a Big Dance qualifier) and that’s the main plan.”

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