A trip to Dubai was a whole new experience for Australian jockey Caitlin Jones, who travelled to the UAE recently to partner He’s A Balter at the Dubai World Cup Carnival.
The 32-year-old took over from jockey Linda Meech at the end of last year and posted a secnd-place finish and a fourth aboard He’s A Balter over the past couple of months at Meydan. The Will Clarken-trained gelding also finished third in the Listed Christmas Handicap at Morphettville on December 11. That run set him up perfectly for his trip to Dubai, where he was aimed at the Carnival’s lucrative turf sprint programme.
“I have never before been to Dubai but certainly had it as one place in the world to travel to in the future,” Jones said. “Meydan is a world class racecourse.
“Just the experience of getting to a part of a Carnival is so prestigious. The best jockeys from around the world go to Dubai to race and it is a privilege to be amongst those riders. There is also the training facilities and the outstanding grandstand.”
Jones has a background in horses - “I was in the stables in my pram at just a few days old” - and has racked up 274 winners so far, including a pair of Listed successes. Over the past year she has built a closer association with the Clarken stable, and also rode on seven-year-old gelding Parsifal during the Dubai Carnival.
“Since becoming a senior rider I have tried to establish a place in a few stables at Morphettville as it is very competitive,” she said. “I would say it is only over the last six months that I have got more involved with Will Clarken’s stable and try to ride as much as I possibly can for him. Todd Pannell is stable rider for him and his team and deservedly so.”