It was a successful long weekend for two close mates who are two of our state's rising stars of the saddle.
Young hoops Justin Huxtable and Brandon Griffiths each had a day out over the Queen's Birthday weeekend at Port Augusta and Murray Bridge, notching up four and five winners respectively.
17-year-old Huxtable rode half the card at Port Augusta on Sunday collecting four winners for the day including two for Paula Trenwith who has been one of his biggest supporters so far. His efforts equalled his career best of four winners on a day which he has now achieved three times in his young career (at Broken Hill and Ceduna) but Sunday's was a first at a TAB meeting.
‘I was headed to Port Augusta hoping for one win to beat my 2kg claim but I was thrilled to get four. Saying that, I was disappointed I couldn’t get five, just missing out on another in the seventh,’ Huxtable said.
While the day belonged to Huxtable, Brandon Griffiths continued his great season at Port Augusta collecting two winners for himself on Triumphant One and Cerutty for local trainer Kyle Mckerlie.
Huxtable and Griffiths both have seven wins at Port Augusta this season, four ahead of their nearest rivals in Jake Toeroek and Jemma Frew who have three apiece. Huxtable has a 25.9% strike rate at Port Augusta this season while Griffiths is remarkably riding at 43.8%.
Griffiths didn't rest on his laurels after recording two wins on Sunday and yesterday he bagged his first provincial treble at Murray Bridge to cap off a great weekend.
The in-form Griffiths has ridden seven winners in June alone and only sits one behind Victorian Beau Mertens for the most wins in Australia this month.
Griffiths partnered with Shane Oxlade for two wins and with Wayne Francis & Glen Kent for his third. 'Shane Oxlade and Kylie Mckerlie have been great supporters of me this season, I think I've ridden six winners from about fourteen starts for Shane this season,' Griffiths said.
After the weekend's results, Justin Huxtable now has 53 wins around the country for the season, while Griffiths has 36. They sit in 9th and 15th spot respectively for total wins in South Australia this season which is a great achievement for two young apprentices.
For the two good mates, each other's success has not been lost on one another. 'We’re really close mates and over the last month he’s flourished. I’m really wrapped for him as he’s always had the ability but now it’s started to click for him,’ Huxtable said of Griffiths. Brandon was equally as proud of his mate's recent form saying, 'he’s just a gun kid and he’s absolutely flying at the moment.’
With seven weeks to go in this season, both riders have a couple of goals they are looking to achieve. ‘My goal for the rest of the season is to get my metro ticket and get my first winner in town,’ said Huxtable while Griffiths' goal is 'to win leading rider at Port Augusta this season and hopefully ride the (Port Augusta) Cup winner.’
Keep your eye out for these two young men as they continue their rise up the ranks!