Just because he was born as the son of successful jockey Phillip Wolfgram and proven city winning thoroughbred trainer Tracey Wolfgram, there was no guarantee that Travis Wolfgram, now aged 18, would be able to forge his own successful career in the racing industry. At the end of the day you can lead a horse to water but it won’t necessarily drink, so whilst Travis’s father Phillip has enjoyed wonderful success, including having ridden feature race winners on his home track at Clifford Park in Toowoomba, the likes of Cutler (1996 Weetwood Handicap) and Waigani Drive (1992 Toowoomba Cup), young Travis is by himself when he’s riding grain fed, adrenalin charged 500 or 600-klogram equine athletes out on the racetrack of dreams.

Most people have been impressed with Travis’s talent which has seen him already boot home 25 winners since he landed his first win aboard the Gilbert Baker trained Anchor Bolt, beating nine rivals home to win the 2012 Tara Cup on 29/9/12 after Travis had “only been riding for three weeks”.

In fact Travis Wolfgram has been riding up a storm in Toowoomba at the last two Saturday twilight meetings conducted in the city. Last Saturday evening Travis had a full book of rides on the seven event card and when the time had come for both the horses and the jockey to go home and push out some zeds, Travis had ridden a treble and run three seconds from those seven rides, which in any fair person’s assessment is a terrific effort. His three winners were Yindu in Race 3 for trainer Ben Currie, Conjugal Rights (Race 5 for Rodney Hay) and Little Orpo (Race 6 for Tony Gollan). None of his three winners started favourite – as they started officially at 5/1, 5/1 and 9/2. The three second placegetters Travis rode were 20/1 pop Miss Granny Grey for local Toowoomba trainer Jenny Dorrington, $2.70 favourite Vice or Virtue for another local Donald Baker and 5/1 chance Street Sister for Warwick mentor Len Bryant, the point being that his seven rides at the Toowoomba meeting were actually for seven different trainers. Ironically it was a horse trained by his mother Tracey, Bullova Lady, that let the young apprentice down as Tracey’s was the only mount Travis had on the evening that finished further back than second.

And don’t think for one moment that last Saturday evening’s effort of riding a treble was a flash in the pan, as the previous Saturday night Travis had also ridden a treble. He rode the winner of three consecutive races for local trainers that evening, scoring on Outback Fighter for Michael Nolen in Race 6, Bradbury Chocolate for Donald Baker in Race 7 and Song of the Bell for Ben Currie in Race 8.

Following those six Toowoomba winners in the space of just two meetings, allied with the fact that the Toowoomba track will soon close to allow the cushion surface to revert to grass, Travis and his parents are happy to back his ability and have taken the decision to move from their Toowoomba base to the Gold Coast during this week. Travis explained, “Moving to the Gold Coast will give me more opportunities. I’ve sort of done all I can up in Toowoomba and I want to keep going forward now, so the Gold Coast was the obvious next step in my riding career”.

Asked if he’ll ride at both the Gold Coast Saturday afternoon meeting before heading off to ride in some of the Toowoomba twilight races, which has been done successfully before by some other apprentices, Travis stated, “my main focus will be the Gold Coast and we’ll just have to see if times work out to also ride in Toowoomba”, adding, “and I really want to do the Northern Rivers tracks as well”.

Following last weekend’s riding engagements and winners, Travis who “can ride comfortably at 52 kgs” and who is apprenticed to his mother Tracey, can still claim 3 kgs at the provincials for another seven wins before his three-kilo claim is reduced to two kilos.

Travis’s aspirations to ride in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales aren’t surprising given he rode a stack of winners when he went on loan recently “for a couple of months” to Sue Grills at Tamworth, the same woman who had talented Tim Bell apprenticed to her. As a fully-fledged jockey nowadays, Tim Bell rode a metropolitan double in Brisbane as recently as last Saturday. During his stint with Sue Grylls, Travis Wolfgram “rode winners at Tamworth, Coffs Harbour, Inverell, Armidale, Quirindi and Gunnedah”.

Travis is the eldest of three sons born to Phillip and Tracey Wolfgram, the two younger brothers are Jessie who is aged 17 and Ryan aged 10. I wonder if there’s another budding jockey in the Wolfgram household who will follow in the footsteps of both their father and brother? I guess time will tell.

One thing is for sure and that is that Travis Wolfgram is in the zone at the moment and he’s riding plenty of winners. Sure he has a surname that helped him be instantly recognized, but at the end of the day just because an apprentice gets blessed with a well-known surname, or has a full book of rides at a race meeting doesn’t give that apprentice any God given right to ride a winner.

So forget putting names of slow racehorses in your little black book. Write the name “T. Wolfgram” down instead – and watch his promising career unfold before your eyes. As winning trainer Brian Costello said to me last Sunday after his horse Mount Kosciuszko had won at Beaudesert with Travis Wolfgram aboard, “now that was a 10 out of 10 ride and it came with a three kilo claim”.

Today on there is the second huge montage of photos from Beaudesert last Sunday, including a couple more photos of Travis Wolfgram from that day. On Brian Russell has penned a story on a horse he part owned that won 10 days ago, whilst on Matt Nicholls is all fired up about the way that the Inter Dominion field is arrived at in 2013 – and I think he’d have many who echo his sentiments.

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