Tahlia Hope is a young female apprentice on the rise as she looks to cement herself in the riding ranks across Victoria.
The daughter of Group 1 trainer Shannon Hope clenched her first Valley winner a fortnight ago, in just her second ride at the track. The victory was aboard the Patrick Payne trained Invincible Al in Heat 5 of the Ladbrokes 55 Second Challenge and coincided as her second Metro winner.
It meant that she also took home a new set of golf clubs thanks to being judged as the Drummond Golf / Callaway Ride of the Night winner.
“I’ve galloped at The Valley before, but to ride under lights was amazing,” the teenager said.
19-year-old Hope has started the current season in sizzling form with 20 winners and a further 17 placings from 104 rides. Based out of Seymour, she completes most of her riding for Lee and Shannon Hope, Daniel McCarthy and Patrick Payne.
Hope had the opportunity to show her craft on the world stage last year when she was selected to represent Australia in an apprentice’s race at Chantilly in France.
“I made sure I put my head down and worked hard to earn a trip like this, but not in a million years would I think that at 17 I'd get the opportunity to be riding in France,” Hope said.
She then completed a stint of trackwork riding in England and Ireland which she says was a valuable learning experience.
Six months ago, the apprentice had a heavy fall at Ballarat jump outs in which she suffered breaks to her tibia and fibula.
“It was tough, I had nine screws and a plate inserted”.
Whilst the rehabilitation was a hard slog, Tahlia credits the time on the sidelines for a lot of the success she has had over the past two months.
“In that stage of my career I hit a flat spot, I wasn’t getting many rides. Once I have come back I’ve really matured”.
She believes this has helped her gain more metro rides and rides for prominent trainers such as Darren Weir and Archie Alexander.
Whilst Tahlia still undertakes most of her riding in the country and provincial circuit she is hopeful that wins like that aboard Invincible Al and her ability to claim 3 kilograms in the city will help her secure more rides in the future.
There is no doubt we’ll be hearing a lot more of Tahlia’s name in the years to come.