Skye Gilbert Debuts at Scottsville

UK apprentice has first ride up the straight

Skye Gilbert in action on the Newmarket gallops

Skye in action on the Newmarket gallops

Racegoers and punters may have noticed a new name on the Scottsville race card for Wednesday, 1 February 2017 in 4kg apprentice claimer, Skye Gilbert, who makes her race riding debut aboard Just Rap for Des Egdes in race 6 on this afternoon’s card.

Skye, who celebrated her 24th birthday on Friday, 27 January 2017, is the daughter of accomplished KZN show-jumper and eventer, Kim Egdes and Cape farrier, Ford Wallace.  Skye grew up around horses and was a competitive rider herself, as well as gaining experience as a stable employee with step dad, Des Egdes, before emigrating to the UK with her husband four years ago.

Her mother, Kim Egdes, explained that Skye is based in Newmarket and originally started out as a work rider for Marco Botti.  “She later moved to the Ed Dunlop yard and I guess Ed saw something in Skye, because he offered to sponsor her to apply for her apprentice license.”

Skye completed an intensive training course and was granted her apprentice license in November 2016.  Kim continues, “It’s been tough and she’s had to work really hard to get her weight down, but she’s done it and we’re really proud of her.”

As it is currently the off season for flat racing in the UK, Skye decided to combine a visit to family in South Africa with seeing whether she could pick up any rides.  The apprentice rules for South Africa stipulate that an apprentice’s first five rides need to be up the straight and Skye has one ride at Scottsville today and two more, also for Des Egdes, at Scottsville on Sunday.

There are a fair few nerves as race time approaches and Kim says, “I’m excited for Skye, but just hoping everything goes well and hoping for a good trip.”  Regarding her chances on Just Rap, Kim says Just Rap is “a nice little filly and has ability.  1400m is probably more her trip, but Des has decided to try her over 1200m today with the claim.”

Skye returns to the UK on 13 February to continue her career.

The Sporting Post wishes her all the very best and will follow her career with interest.

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