Jumps jockey’s journey

Jayden Hanley looking relaxed after a big day at the races. Photo: Tom Parry

Sale teenager Jayden Hanley has impressed at just his second event as a professional jockey.

The 16-year-old competed in two jumps races at Sale Turf Club’s Life Members Race Day, held on Wednesday, June 8.

A heavy track and cool weather meant favourable conditions for the horses, with prospects looking just as good for the youngster.

In his first race, Hanley took the reins of New Zealand gelding We’ll Meet Again, trained by Belinda Simpson.

Hanley started well, leading in the first half of the race, but a stumble at the seventh hurdle saw his pace drop.

His second race saw Hanley pilot another Kiwi-bred gelding, Looking Around, trained by his mentor, the legendary jumps trainer Eric Musgrove.

After a poor start that saw him spend much of the race at the rear of the field, Hanley recovered to achieve fifth place.

Hanley was overall happy with his efforts on the day, saying that Looking Around “raced well”.

The achievements at the Greenwattle Racecourse come after a successful debut in Hamilton last month, where he finished fifth and third in his two races.

He admitted to being “pretty proud” of his podium finish, but credited the result to Musgrove.

“I was lucky enough to be put on a horse that could do it – that was all Eric’s training,” he told the Gippsland Times.

Musgrove is also responsible for fostering Hanley’s interest in jumps racing, which he had no knowledge of until he started work as a jockey.

“I was show-jumping for most of my life … then I went into racing, then I ended up working for Eric Musgrove and learnt a bit more about the sport, and just fell in love with it from there,” he said.

Having run on his home turf, Hanley now has his eyes on Warrnambool, where he hopes to be racing again in two weeks’ time.