Thursday, January 28, 2010


Eliza Park’s stable rider, Craig Atkinson, has been awarded his jockeys’ licence and is now available for race day engagements.
“Craig is very capable young jockey and plays an integral role in the farm’s racing division,” Eliza Park’s General Manager Racing, Sue Ellis points out.
“Craig has helped prepare our Ready To Run horses for the past couple of seasons and has ridden in 20 odd trials of late.
“He’s a natural lightweight and, importantly, still has a three kilo claim.”
Craig recently featured as our Staff Profile.

Craig Atkinson loves his job. Now the stable rider for Eliza Park’s burgeoning Racing Division, Craig – 23 – reckons being a jockey is a fantastic way to make a crust.
Surprisingly though, this natural lightweight had no ambitions of life in the saddle until he left school at 15.
“A work mate of my dad’s thought that due to my size and love for the outdoors, I should have a go at being a jockey and, as it turned out, he’s the father-in-law of Mornington trainer James Sheppard.
“So, I moved from Berrigan to Mornington and have been fortunate to ride for a few top trainers including Neil Dyer at Kyneton and Bruce Purcell at Crabourne.
“I’ve ridden 20 winners to date but the biggest thrill was my first ride in town when I finished second on Ray Besanko’s horse, Jeteven.
“I met Sue Ellis (Eliza Park’s General Manager Racing) when I was based at Kyneton and, in fact, my second winner was on Sue’s horse, Miss Kay Jay who won over 2400m at Mornington in August 2006.
“When I got the opportunity to shift to Eliza Park four months ago, I jumped at it.”
Craig certainly has a growing band of fans and won plenty of kudos for his skills on the Eliza Park horses at the recent Magic Millions National Horses in Training Sale on the Gold Coast where he brought the best out of his mounts.
“Craig is a very good young rider and still has a 3kg claim,” Sue Ellis explains. “He has ridden our Ready To Run horses for the past four years and can ride at 51kgs.
“Also, those clients seeking barrier certificates for their horses can utilise Craig at official trials. He’s a great asset to the team.”
And Craig is equally happy to be ‘on board’: “I love the atmosphere at Eliza Park. It’s like being part of a big family and constant improvements, such as the building of a new track, show what a professional place it is.
“I like the way horses are treated here at Eliza Park where each horse is an individual … not a number.”

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