Talented apprentice returns to the saddle

Wednesday 31 May 2017

FORMER talented apprentice Chantal Willis makes her comeback to race riding in Devonport on Sunday after almost two years out of the saddle.

Willis, 26, encountered weight problems and other health issues that led to her giving the game away in June 2015.

She bowed out with an impressive record of 34 wins and 82 minor placings from 462 rides for just over $500,000 in stakes.

Her desire to reignite her career led to a massive weight-loss program that has her fighting fit and weighing in at 53 kilograms which is a far cry from the 70kg she blew out to during the two-year break.

“I gave it away because of weight issues and I felt as if I was burnt out mentally but it was probably more a case of me not being mature enough to handle the pressure that goes with being a jockey,” Willis said.

“I have been able to get my weight down to where it should be but I did it the right way this time with proper diet, exercise and a healthier lifestyle.

“The first year I was out I didn’t care about riding but in the last six months especially I realised that it really is what I want to do.

“You’ve got to have desire and I’ve definitely got that back.”

Willis is indentured to Spreyton trainer Adam Trinder for whom she will have her first ride back on Sunday aboard Ariconte in a class two handicap over 1350 metres.

“I’ve just taken the one ride on Sunday and that’s enough to focus on for my first meeting back.

“I am rapt to be indentured to Adam (Trinder) because he is so passionate about his horses and he is a thorough professional and that tends to rub off on everyone around the stable”

Willis can claim two kilograms and she still has 18 months remaining of her apprenticeship.