Caserta Kicking Goals
At the age of just 22, young jockey Chris Caserta has the world at his feet. While he continues to chalk up winners around Victoria and South Australia, it’s his first winner at The Valley on November 3 that had many standing up and taking notice of one of the most emerging talents in the jockey’s room.
With over 70 victories to his name, eight city wins that include six interstate within the past month, and working his provincial claim down to 1½ kilograms, it’s hard to believe three years ago Caserta’s career was on the rocks. Less than a year into his apprenticeship in 2012, Caserta was thrown from a horse that later landed on top of him, leaving him with a smashed left femur that kept him out of the saddle for 18 months.
“My leg just took a really long time to heal,” recalls Caserta.
“There was a hairline fracture that wasn’t healing properly and I had to wait 12 months for all the screws and rods to be taken out. But they had to keep the rod in for a bit longer because the leg wasn’t healing.
“They [doctors] said it was the worst break they’d seen in a very long time,” Caserta explained.
Caserta’s path to riding racehorses wasn’t a traditional one, as he didn’t take on the task until he was 16 years of age. From the age of eight however, his energy was spent on Taekwondo, winning state and national championships.
“I still do a lot of the training because the fitness you get from it is just amazing, especially for racing,” says Caserta.
“I’ve won many state championships, a couple of national titles and I’ve been overseas to Malaysia and Korea to represent Australia.
“They say I’ve got a natural seat and Taekwondo helps with balance and core strength so I’m lucky to have that behind me,” admitted Caserta.
Since his return to the saddle in March 2016, Caserta has picked up where he left off, with the win aboard Jolie’s Café in the $40,000 Ellar Classic Handicap (1600m) his first city win for his master, John Sadler.
“It’s a special win for us. We’ve always been knocking on the door to get a win for the team and the team’s been knocking on the door with this horse and it’s great to finally get one,” a relieved Caserta said.
Having now ridden a winner at every Melbourne metropolitan track, Caserta’s success has no borders and in recent weeks has made Adelaide a happy hunting ground with five winners from less than 20 rides.
It seems that Caserta will keep ringing the winner’s bell in the City of Churches for some time to come, with a climb up the Melbourne metropolitan jockey ranks just around the corner.