Teo Nugent with his Rising Stars trophy (Image: Racing Photos/Brett Holburt)
Apprentice rider Teo Nugent may not have been crowned the Rising Star series winner but he showed at Flemington on Saturday that he too was a likely star of the future when he took the series final aboard El Questro.
The 12 points Nugent earned for his win moved him to 72 points for the series saw him secure second place, some 10 points shy of overall winner Campbell Rawiller, who himself scored six points in the final aboard runner-up Beauty Bolt to finish the season on 82 points.
Lewis German finished third aboard Maximak to earn four points and sew-up third place with 53 points.
It was Nugent’s first ride on the horse and although he knew he could not bridge the gap to Rawiller in the series, he was keen to win the final race.
"It’s been a competitive series all season, really," he said.
"We’ve been running second for quite a long time and it’s good to pinch a winner."
Although he did not win the final race of the series, it has been a wonderful opening season of riding for the 19-year-old son of top rider Nash Rawiller. The apprentice has ridden 73 winners since making his debut back in September.
The only downside of the day for Rawiller came before the first race when stewards were notified the 19-year-old apprentice’s minimum weight was up to 53kg for the meeting.
The victory from El Questro, was Allison Sheehan's first ever at Flemington and the tears that filled her eyes after the race showed just what it meant to her.
"I might shout myself takeaway," she told Racing.com. "As long as we can keep racing we’re all happy. We’ll sacrifice that (partying, etc) so everything calms down again and we’ll be set."
"I’ve had a lot of help," she said. "She’s been given time. She races in Rob McGuinness’ colours - the same as her dam and grand dam. A lot of people will know those colours.
"I’m hoping that she will be able to have another prep next year. But she loves it here so hopefully it isn’t her last win here for her.
"I just try and keep her happy. I do most of the riding on her at home. Anyone could ride her, seriously. You could ride her around in a halter. She’s just a lovely horse to deal with. Her mum (El Rayo) was the same.
"I’ve had a lot of horses from the same family and they have been really good to me. I just thank everyone for being involved; the vets, the farrier, my strapper Mel who loves her."
RISING STARS FINAL LEADERBOARD
1. Campbell Rawiller 82pts
2. Teo Nugent 72pts
3. Lewis German 53pts
4. Michael Poy 43pts
5. Liam Riordan 35pts
6. Will Price 28pts
7. Harry Grace 28pts