Llewellyn boots home her first winner at Dubbo

Without any family involvement in racing and only minimal contact with horses until three years ago, Shannen Llewellyn (22yo) has come a long way in a short time to ride her first winner on Friday at Dubbo.

"Me and my older sister Lakisha had an obsession with and love of horses and although we collected stacks of figurines, stuffed toys and photos we did not have a real horse!" Shannen Llewellyn revealed.

Reared at Lismore, Shannen moved to the central coast when 13 and at age 19 purchased her first horse.

Around that time she started work at the Wyong Creek property where Tim Boland specialised in pre-training racehorses with the major client being leading trainer Chris Waller.

While carrying out stablehand duties, Shannen occasionally helped care for champion sprinter and 2021 Everest winner Nature Strip.

Next step in the learning process was a stint with Wyong trainer Kim Waugh before moving to Dubbo and an eventual apprenticeship with trainer Brett "Snow" Robb.

An outstanding horseman who was taught his craft by his father the legendary Nyngan trainer Rodney Robb, Brett Robb was quick off the mark when giving instructions to the new arrival .

"I had only previously ridden a bit of slow work but the second day after I arrived in Dubbo I was asked to work a horse at full gallop," Shannen recalled.

"May as well sink or swim at the earliest opportunity," said Brett Robb.

For an apprentice to commence riding in races, at least 30 official barrier trials have to be completed successfully under intense scrutiny by stipendiary stewards.

Trainers will often choose horses that are front runners and easy to ride, for their apprentices to handle in barrier trials.

Not so Brett Robb who reasoned an apprentice would learn more by being back in the field and needing to make decisions finding runs through a pack.

The same reasoning applied when Brett Robb after discussions with his apprentice, instead of putting Shannen Llewellyn on one of his good front running sprinters chose a $10 outsider, 4yo gelding Platinum Warrior for her race riding debut in a 1400m Maiden Handicap at Dubbo in mid-February.

Placed in a nice position behind the leaders, Platinum Warrior finished not far from the placegetters and with Shannen again the rider ran second after racing in the lead the following start at Dubbo.

For her sixth race ride, Shannen was given the opportunity by local trainer Dar Lunn to ride the well performed Elson Boy at Dubbo in the 1300m Westside Cellars Country Boosted Benchmark 58 Handicap.

This appeared a daunting task for the relatively inexperienced apprentice as Elson Boy was starting from a very wide barrier against a reasonably good quality field of 14 runners.

Despite an outside draw, Dar Lunn, a former successful jockey, instructed Shannen LLewellyn to try and lead and expressed his confidence in the apprentice.

Alert at the start, Shannen had Elson Boy quickly away and crossing from out wide to the early lead.

In front when heads turned for home, Elson Boy ($5 to $4.40 favourite) had several rivals in hot pursuit but held on strongly under Shannen Llewellyn to win by almost two lengths from Capital Gamble (Braith Nock, $10) and Owhata Crumpet (Chelsea Hillier, $10).

After dismounting, Shannen Llewellyn expressed her gratitude to trainer Dar Lunn and the owners Guy Mitchell (Binnaway) and Rob Pratten (Dubbo) for the opportunity, and also her gratitude to Brett Robb for his invaluable advice and support since becoming apprenticed to the master horseman.

Shannen kicked home her second winner when successful on Hombre at Tamworth yesterday.

Meanwhile, racing on Saturday is at Broken Hill and Ardlethan picnics while TAB racing is focused on Coonamble on Sunday with the staging of the $150,000 Newhaven Park Country Championships Qualifier for horses trained in the Western Racing Association.

Racing and Sports