Apprentice Graham shines on metro stage

Apprentice Cejay Graham has enjoyed one of her biggest thrills in racing with a Randwick winner.

Cejay Graham did not always plan to follow the same career path as her father, jockey Peter, but she was glad she changed her mind after celebrating her first Saturday metropolitan win at Randwick.

The 21-year-old, who is indentured to Peter and Paul Snowden, rode a well-judged race to lead throughout on the Matt Dale-trained Man Of Peace in the Ranvet Handicap (1500m).

“It’s a great feeling. I’m really just lost for words, I am so grateful to be here and given the opportunities,” Graham said.

Graham has been riding for close to three years and has a year left on her apprenticeship.

Man Of Peace gave her a fifth city win for the season but Graham revealed that becoming a jockey was not always her dream.

“I always thought dad’s job was awesome but I never thought I’d end up here doing it,” she said.

“I worked doing afternoons and ground work (in the stables) for nearly two years and then one day I just woke up and said I want to ride trackwork.

“That was all I wanted to do, just ride trackwork.

“It wasn’t until I had my first go out of the gates. I always thought this would be cool but I didn’t know it in my heart (until then).”

Graham’s family encouraged her to finish school before starting her apprenticeship and she said her father was her biggest mentor.

She came to Randwick quietly confident Man Of Peace was a winning chance and said Dale gave her the keys to success with his riding instructions to find the lead.

“Credit to Matty Dale, he’s the one that said to me this is the way he should be ridden,” Graham said.

“He said he will fight if he’s in the lead and something comes to him.”

Man Of Peace ($8.50) did just that, lifting to stave off Nicochet ($9.50) by a short head with Napoleon Solo ($5 equal fav) two lengths away third.

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