It was an emotional Golden Slipper day for Tyler Schiller, with the star young jockey fighting back tears after dedicating his maiden Group 1 win to his father, Glenn, who has cancer.
The 24-year-old is still only an apprentice, but he piloted Mariamia to victory in the $1million Group 1 Galaxy with the all the composure of a grizzled veteran at Rosehill on Saturday afternoon.
The popular hoop, who won the 2021/2022 Sydney metropolitan apprentice title, hails from Young in the NSW Riverina, and is the son of prominent local harness trainer, Glenn Schiller. His grandfather, Peter, was also a top trots trainer.
Unfortunately it has been tough times for the close-knit family of late, and Schiller’s first thoughts after winning his first-ever Group 1 race were about his father.
He was fighting back tears as he described just how much riding his maiden Group 1 winner meant to him.
A jubilant Tyler Schiller celebrates after snagging his first-ever Group 1 win in the Galaxy at Rosehill on Saturday
‘It feels unreal,’ a clearly Schiller said on Channel 7’s coverage of Golden Slipper day.
‘My dad (Glenn), he’s got cancer. All he wanted to see was me to win a Group 1 and to come out and do it today, it was unreal.’
Schiller could no longer hold back the tears after finishing the interview with a shoutout both heartwarming and heart-wrenching at the same time: ‘A big howdy do to Mum and Dad back home.’
The Joe Pride-trained mare showed a brilliant turn of foot on the straight as Schiller piloted her through expertly along the rail to upset the well-supported favourite Uncommon James, with Cannonball finishing in third.
It continues what is a remarkable rise through the jockey ranks for the talented youngster, who is currently sitting second in the Sydney Jockey Premiership despite still only being an apprentice.
Schiller was also emotional when talking about his boss Mark Newnham, a legendary teacher for young jockeys, and a Group 1 winning trainer.
‘I can’t thank him enough for the opportunities I’m getting, it’s unreal. I’m so pleased I pulled it off,’ he said, after coming in fifth in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas on Newnham’s horse, Matcha Latte.
Tyler Schiller boots Mariamia home in the Group 1 Galaxy at Rosehill, finishing ahead of favourite Uncommon James and Cannonball
Schiller, known as one of the sharpest dressers in the jockeys room, arrives at Rosehill for what would turn out to be the biggest day of his career
Head jockey coach at Racing NSW, 49-time Group 1 winning hoop Corey Brown, prompted even more emotion from Schiller after giving his mate a huge hug.
‘I wish I didn’t cry for it, but it’s the best feeling in the world,’ Schiller told Brown after on Sky Racing.
It was also a brilliant win for six-year-old mare Mariamia, who Schiller said did it ‘easy’.
‘It’s the best feeling in the world, to do it on a mare like that. She’s come through the grades really sharply and Joe (Pride) has turned her around but gee she’s a good mare,’ he said.
‘I thought it was inevitable at the 100m, she was doing it easy, no one was catching her.
‘To see her freeball for the last 200m, she’s a super mare and I am very grateful to Joe (Pride) and the connections for putting me on. I can’t believe I won a Group 1.’
Tyler Schiller salutes the crowd following his first ever Group 1 win after taking out the Galaxy on Saturday
Pride himself could not have been anymore, well, proud, of both Schiller and his star mare.
‘Searching for a jockey in these big races with a lightweight, you like someone who can ride the horse naturally, and Tyler’s a natural,’ he said after the race.
‘He won more winners for me last season that anyone else, and here’s the reward.
‘It’s pretty special. I’ve been really happy with her (Mariamia) all preparation. She didn’t see the 1300m out the other day but freshened up and back to a sprint trip, she was really dynamic there today.
‘That’s her crowning moment, she’s won a Galaxy now.’
Racing at Rosehill continues this Saturday for Tancred Stakes day.
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