Apprentice to ride Ringo’s A Rockstar

In-form apprentice Josh Oliver has gained the ride on emerging three-year-old Ringo’s A Rockstar at Doomben with regular jockey Matt Gray recovering from shoulder surgery.

Gray mainly rides at the country and provincial meetings in South East Queensland but made the trip to Doomben last Saturday week to ride Ringo’s A Rockstar to an impressive win.

It was one of the feel-good stories of the year as Ringo’s A Rockstar is trained by 85-year-old Norm Stephens and Gray could not remember his previous Saturday city win.

Ringo’s A Rockstar is the likely favourite for Saturday’s Super Butcher Three-Year-Old (1200m) at Doomben and normally Gray, who has ridden him three times for two wins and a second, would have been aboard.

But he underwent shoulder surgery last week, putting him out of the saddle for a few weeks.

Norm Stephens has been a great supporter of Gray who was apprenticed to him at Deagon two decades ago.

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Stephens’ son Gary said it was a pity that Gray would miss the ride.

“Matty has done a terrific job with Ringo’s A Rockstar but he hurt his shoulder when he fell after winning at Gatton last month. It hasn’t got any better and needed surgery,” Stephens said.

“But we had to put somebody on and it might as well be a top apprentice who is riding well with a three-kilogram claim.”

“Ringo’s A Rockstar hasn’t gone backwards since his last start win and he should go well again from the good barrier (3).”

The Stephens family and friends bred Ringo’s A Rockstar when they sent their mare Cradle Rock to Drumbeats after injury ended her career prematurely.

Larry Cassidy has picked up the ride on the Steve Tregea-trained Mymancharles, who was second to Ringo’s A Rockstar when they met two weeks ago, replacing James Orman who is riding in Sydney at the Golden Rose meeting.

Cassidy, who also rides Sony Legend in the Benchmark 85 race, is chasing a first Saturday metropolitan winner since returning from a lengthy recuperation from knee surgery.

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