APPRENTICE jockey Chris Caserta has gone from kicking butts in the ring to kicking home horses.
The former national Taekwondo champion arrived at premier Albury trainer Brett Cavanough’s stables last week and had his first race ride at Wagga on Saturday aboard Dazed Ale.
And although it wasn’t a fairytale debut with Dazed Ale finishing third, those close to Caserta have little doubt he has every chance of making as big impression on the racetrack as he did in the ring.
Caserta, 18, had never ridden a horse until two years ago before making the decision to become a jockey.
Jockey silks now replace a black belt for Caserta who is on loan to Cavanough for three months from Flemington trainer Russell Cameron.
“It’s the best decision I ever made,” Caserta said.
“I’m absolutely loving it.
“I’ve always had a passion for animals since a young age so I’m really enjoying it.”
Caserta said his Taekwondo background had helped make the transition to becoming a jockey relatively seamless.
“I started Taekwondo when I was eight so I’ve been doing it for 10 years now and I still do a lot of the training because the fitness you get from it is just amazing, especially for racing,” he said.
“I’ve had a bit of success in Taekwondo and that’s taken me around Australia.
“I’ve won many state championships, a couple of national titles and I’ve been overseas to Malaysia and Korea to represent Australia.
“They say I’ve got a natural seat, which I don’t think so, but Taekwondo helps with balance and core strength so I’m lucky to have that behind me.”
Caserta, who tips the scales at 48 kilograms, is set to have his second race ride aboard the Cavanough-trained Marble Prince at Albury on Saturday.