Osborne back for more as Yarmouth stages Racing League opener

Saffie Osborne will be bidding for more Racing League success when the third edition of the regional competition begins at Yarmouth on Thursday.

The 21-year-old was one of the stars of last year’s six-week event as her Wales and The West region lifted the Racing League trophy and Osborne herself took home a £20,000 cheque as the competition’s leading rider.

Wales and The West, managed by Osborne’s father Jamie, headed into the final evening at Newcastle with a 36-point deficit in 2022, but the young jockey proved instrumental in turning the tables on Matt Chapman’s London and The South region by riding a famous 6,539-1 treble.

“It was amazing and a bit of a shock to be honest,” said Osborne.

“I knew mathematically it was possible, but when you looked at my rides for the evening it looked fairly unlikely.

“It was brilliant and it was a bit of a shock, but it was great to take home the leading rider prize and it was a great evening.”

Osborne is 14-1 joint favourite with William Hill to be leading rider once again and she insists being the defending champion brings no pressure as Wales and The West begin their quest for back-to-back Racing League titles.

“I think the target will still be on Matt Chapman’s back to be honest,” said Osborne.

“We’ve got a few more trainers on the team this year and hopefully that will add a bit of strength as well as numbers to our team.

“We’ve got a good team of riders. I’ve been lucky in that there are a few trainers I ride for that have had runners at quite a lot of the meetings in the past, so it has been quite good, but we’ve got a good team this year”.

Since bagging the leading jockey award at Gosforth Park last September, Osborne’s star has continued to rise and she was soon partnering her first Group-level winner when Random Harvest won the Group Three Premio Elena e Sergio Cumani the following month.

Random Harvest has gone on to put Osborne in the spotlight on some of the biggest days on the racing calendar, while in her first season without a claim she became the first female jockey to land the Chester Cup after steering Harry Fry’s Metier to success on the Roodee.

However, despite now riding regularly at the big meetings at the weekend, Osborne retains a soft spot for Thursday nights and the Racing League.

She said: “I have loved taking part and there has been a great buzz at the meetings. It’s been great in the first couple of years and hopefully the competition can keep getting stronger.

“It’s brilliant for riders as you could get to ride for trainers you wouldn’t necessarily have ridden for before and it offers a few more opportunities in that sense.

“With the coverage it is getting on TV now, it is hitting a more mainstream audience and hopefully it can keep growing and be as successful as it has been the last few years.”

Osborne has four rides at Yarmouth on Thursday, including aboard Elzaam Blue for her father in the William Hill Keep Your Raceday Positive Racing League Race 7 Handicap – a 10-furlong contest that boasts a £100,000 prize fund.

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