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By Graham Potter | Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Jockey Chris Caserta is back on the scoreboard after riding his first winner since relocating to Queensland from Victoria.

The win, in fact, came at the Northern Rivers venue of Lismore (many Queensland based riders make the trip to ride there) and it can be argued that the ride won the race as Caserta drove the $11 chance Spring Nymph around the leaders in the sweep to the home turn, gaining an advantage that the Kelvin Hickmott trained mare was able to hold all of the way to the line, finishing two lengths clear of the $2.60 favourite Time To Target.

It hasn’t been easy sailing for Caserta thus far in his career.

In 2014, after he had only been riding for ten months, Caserta was thrown from his mount at the Cranbourne trails and he broke his leg. The original estimated time off of twelve months turned into eighteen months … a long disruption, particularly so early in his career.

More stress related to that incident came about when Racing Victoria’s Insurance Agent rejected Caserta’s insurance claim, reported because the injury had happened in a trial and not a race, but Racing Victoria then insisted that Caserta receive his WorkCover payment.

A couple of serious run-in’s with stewards, with some associated enforced stints on the sidelines, followed, which didn’t exactly help matters, and then another big setback arrived when Caserta was one of the riders involved in a dramatic four horse fall at Sale in August 2019 which left him with a fracture of the C5 vertebrae and more time out of action due to his extended recovery period.

So, it certainly cannot be denied that Caserta has come through a lot in his time in the saddle. True, some of it might have been by his own making … but who hasn’t made mistakes … while the serious physical part of his misfortune has come via factors out of his control which, in its simplest terms, falls under the heading of sheer bad luck … ie. being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Thankfully, that is all past tense now and Caserta’s decision to relocate from Victoria to the Gold Coats in Queensland has potentially opened the door to a new and hopefully happier chapter in Caserta’s career.

Wherever you sit on the jockey’s ladder though, changing states and coming in cold is an intimidating prospect and it will always be a tough gig in the early stages, particular for those who have to make their way without a ‘big name’ tag.

To his credit, Caserta has accepted that challenge.

Spring Nymph was Caserta’s twelfth ride since his relocation. Nine of those rides have been in the Northern Rivers, two have been at the Gold Coast (where Caserta is based) and one has been on the Sunshine Coast. So far eight trainers have given him an opportunity but, to date, not one of his rides has started at single figure odds … some going as high as $41 and $51 … underlining just how difficult a task it is to break through.

Which is why this win at Lismore is so important.

That oh so important first winner is on the board and those who watch the video have a good chance of concluding that the ride was the decisive factor in the race.

It might only have been a Maiden Plate on heavy going at a non-frontline venue … but sometimes your luck can turn on the smallest of results and, given that luck hasn’t been the greatest ally in Caserta’s career to date, the chances are that few would begrudge him if his latest result gives his prospects a small boost.

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