Echuca Race Club to honour Mikaela Claridge at Saturday’s meeting

By Andrew Johnston

MIKAELA Claridge will always hold a place in Echuca Racing Club history.

It was the track the apprentice jockey once called home, and it was where she rode her first winner - the John Pearson trained King's Hand - in September last year.

On Saturday, as racing returns to the track for the first time since the death of the 22-year-old rising star in a freak trackwork accident, the ERC will take the opportunity to honour the much-loved Claridge.

As well as a tribute in the day's race book and a minutes silence being held by the jockeys, race five of the day will carry the name "The one and only Mikaela Claridge 0-58 Handicap."

Three local trainers - Daryl Archard and the team of Mick Cornish and Donna Gaskin - whom Claridge had ridden for, will have runners in the race.

Echuca Racing Club general manager Flip Evans said it was important to honour Claridge on her home track.

"It's never easy to lose a part of the family," he said.

"Mikaela had a huge impact on everyone throughout the community, so we want Saturday to be a celebration of her and the impact she had.

"It will hopefully be great for her family to come up and be a part of the day, as a club and a community we are doing everything we can to make this a special day for everyone involved."

The event will be an eight race card, with the first jumping at 12.46pm.

"It's going to be a fantastic event," he said.

"We were penciled in for seven races for the day but we have pushed out to eight with the number of nominations we have received.

"The weather looks to be super, the sun will be out, perfect conditions for the racing and for the spectators, so it will be a great family day of racing for all our patrons."

Check inside today's Riv for your form guide of the days events.