Trainer Helen Page gives Luke Tarrant chance to shine on his return from suspension
HELEN Page has urged Luke Tarrant to follow the example of her Golden Rose-winning jockey Hugh Bowman as he tries to save his career after his six-month drug ban.
Page has given Tarrant his first chance back from suspension when he rides Excalibrator at the Gold Coast on Saturday.
Stewards granted Tarrant his licence on Tuesday, extending his apprenticeship by three months so he can complete a number of training modules he needs in order to obtain a senior licence.
Tarrant was the toast of Queensland racing 20 months ago when he won the Group 2 Villiers, on Page’s Rudy, then the Magic Millions in consecutive months on his way to being a runaway winner of Apprentice Of the Year.
But he lost his way after winning the Group 2 Sires last May, incurring a six-week suspension for reckless riding and then a few months later testing positive to a derivative of cocaine.
During his time out, he was charged by police with six counts of drug and property offences, which are scheduled to be heard in December. He intends to plead not guilty to five of the six charges.
“I was disappointed in him,” Page told Radio TAB on Friday. “I know what he could be doing in his life and then you see them just waste it. “(But) John’s a good man, a good racing man and understands life and he said ‘don’t hold the kid down, he can ride, you know he will be doing his best for you and give the kid a go’.”
Page booked Bowman at the 11th hour to ride Doonan to success in the 2004 Golden Rose, two years after he had been outed for six months after a positive test to cocaine.
At 21, Bowman was the same age as Tarrant when he was given his marching orders by stewards but he turned the experience into a positive and is now one of the best riders.
“Life’s a journey,” Page said. “Sometimes we make mistakes. I hope (Luke) learns from it.
“He’s a likeable character. Everyone gets disappointed in different things that happened in the past. We’re not all angels. We deserve a chance in life.”
Story courtesy Nathan Exelby Brisbane Courier Mail