RACING’S new star was Borne to ride.
After all, her old man was one of the best jump jockeys of his generation.
PAJockey Saffie Osborne has dominated in the Racing League[/caption]
But Saffie Osborne has made her own way in the cut-throat sport of Flat racing, with only minimal assistance from dad and trainer Jamie.
The Osborne name definitely helped as she tried to get her foot in the door as a green and inexperienced apprentice in 2020.
In virtually no time, though, she became one of the go-to claimers in the weighing room.
The acid test for all young jockeys comes when their claim is no longer there – right now she is passing it with flying colours.
No doubt, the Racing League has played a big part in that.
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The team competition has its critics, but the extra publicity that comes with riding winners on ITV has definitely helped propel her to the next level.
She has been the Racing League’s top jockey over the past two seasons, controversially bagging the riding title last year on a dramatic final day, with big rival Sean Levey suspended after a drugs test cock-up.
The £20,000 bonus she banked went towards a new car – and it looks like another windfall could be coming her way as she is clear at the top of the riders standings yet again.
Osborne, 21, has no idea what she would do with the extra cash this time, but she is not getting too far ahead of herself with the competition only at its halfway point.
She knows better than anyone how quickly things can change – having overhauled Levey with a stunning 6,500-1 treble at Newcastle last September.
But she is more than just a one-trick pony and is currently enjoying the hottest streak of her career. And a lot of big trainers are paying close attention.
She said: “I try not to set too many targets for myself at the start of the year, it was just to ride as many winners as possible and get on a better quality of horse.
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“Luckily that has happened, it’s been a good few weeks. The Racing League and Shergar Cup have been massive for me to help raise my profile.
“They’re good competitions but also good quality of horse which I might not be able to get on otherwise.
“I feel like this is the first year that my riding and everything else is starting to click into place. I’m feeling very confident now even compared to 12 months ago.
“It was apparent last year when I started out that I wasn’t as strong as I wanted to be. This is the first year I feel confident in my riding and I feel like it has come along way.
“I will just keep my head down and keep trying hard and hopefully the opportunities will keep coming.”
Mind you, every top athlete needs to blow off some steam, and when she isn’t racking up the miles travelling around the country for rides, you will probably find her winding up her dad.
He is trying to shed a few pounds in preparation for next month’s Leger Legends race at Doncaster, and poking fun at him in the gym has given her – and her social media followers – plenty of light relief.
She joked: “It’s a great bit of sport taking the mick out of dad.
“I don’t think he’d seen a gym for 20 years before he was asked to ride in this race.
“It doesn’t half wind him up when we film him sweating on the exercise bike but he knows it’s all good natured fun.”
A great season – which is well on course to being her best yet – could get even better this week, with a tasty book of rides at York.
They include Grappa Nonino for legendary trainer Dermot Weld and Scenic in the Listed Galtres Stakes.
And she is set to team up with her favourite horse Random Harvest on Saturday at Goodwood in the Group 2 Celebration Mile – the horse responsible for her biggest win to date.
Osborne added: “I should hopefully have a few nice chances at York this week – honestly I don’t take it for granted riding at these big meetings.
“Random Harvest has been huge for me, winning the Group 3 on King George day at Ascot was incredibly special.
“She is a joy to ride and hopefully she is the horse who can take me to the next level. Who knows, maybe she will be able to win a Group 1 by the end of the year.”
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