Dee holds strong whip hand with Weir

The new season in Melbourne may only be three meetings old but apprentice jockeys are already to the fore.

Michael Dee shares top billing with senior rider Nick Hall while fellow apprentices Ben Allen and Beau Mertens sit one win behind on three metropolitan winners apiece.

Dee finished second in last season’s Melbourne apprentices’ title behind Dylan Dunn and has carried that form over into the new season.

One person who has cottoned on to Dee’s ability is leading trainer Darren Weir.

Dee was aboard two of Weir’s haul of five winners at Flemington on August 6 and they combined with Kaniana for another winner at Caulfield on Saturday.

Fellow apprentice Ben Allen and Dee travel to give the Ballarat-based Weir a helping hand when he trials many of his horses and the trainer is only too happy to put them on in races.

“They come up and ride work and trials when they can so I’m happy to support them,” Weir said.

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“They come and do the hard yards like Johnny (Allen), Brad (Rawiller) and Harry (Coffey) and Michelle (Payne) when she’s going.

“Naturally Mickey’s got to ride for Mick (Price) as well, that’s his priority, but when he can fit us in, it’s good.”

What impresses Weir is Dee’s ability with the whip, especially with his winning ride aboard Sooboog in the Listed Aurie’s Star Handicap at Flemington.

He said Dee’s ability to use the whip in both hands extracted the best out of Sooboog.

“When he rode Sooboog he was left hand, then he was right hand and the horse didn’t know what was happening and off it went,” Weir said.

“He looks good on them, he’s strong and he can ride light.

“It’s a big advantage.”

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