This week we look ahead at the careers of Charlene Callico and Pierre Thieulent as they continue their rise in the trotting division. The pair are looking forward to further success in the upcoming months...
It was not until shortly after her fourteenth birthday that Charlene Callico surprised her family by announcing career aspirations as a trotting jockey. Brought up in Montfermeil, in Seine-Saint-Denis, the decision was not totally out of the blue as her father would take her racing most weekends.
The dream of becoming a fully-fledged jockey appeared a long way off, but the next morning a phone call was made to the racing school in Graignes and an appointment was booked. Arriving with next to no experience around horses, it was her determination and attitude that shone through as she worked tirelessly to catch up with others. It was clear from an early stage that with no immediate contacts in racing, Charlene Callico would have to force her way into the industry using good character and hard work.
After receiving an apprentice license, Charlene Callico worked for several trainers including top trotting handler, Bruno Marie. However, once joining current trainer Didier Brohier, the fruits of her labour really began to flourish.
On 24 February 2021, Charlene Callico became a professional jockey securing her fiftieth victory on Flash Quest at Toulouse. The success was made even more potent as Charlene owns Flash Quest. A six-year-old by Scipio du Goutier, he had already provided the talented female rider with a brilliant first triumph at Vincennes in late January.
With a positive work ethic and a relaxed riding style, the reputation of Charlene Callico looks sure to be grow further. Currently sat with 51 victories from 935 rides it would be no surprise were she to reach the next level in this remarkable career. Surrounded by excellent trainers and owners, she can continue to develop a strategic racing brain alongside the pure talent of her natural riding ability.
The Les Loges born jockey discovered riding at the Tilleul equestrian centre aged eight, and it was here his fascination with horses began to grow. Five years later, Pierre Thieulent was accepted into the Graignes racing school. The young rider went on to complete his apprenticeship at the Pierre Levesque stable, at the Bellevent stud farm in Beuzeville-la-Bastille in the Manche region before spending three years in the Lower Normandy area prior to joining trainer Xavier Thevenet. It was there, aged 16-years-old, Pierre Thieulent would taste his first success onboard a gelding named Oz Le Magicien.
Things were not plain sailing for Pierre as he struggled to receive rides shortly after his first career success. He noticed trainers opting to use lighter based riders and decided to take some time out.
With the spark for racing reignited in 2018, Pierre cut 13kg of weight in just five months. A new lease of life was born thanks to fitness, health, and hard work.
Armed with a much healthier lifestyle and better riding weight the gifted jockey was able to take his career tally to 28 victories. A riding weight of around the 55kg mark has allowed Pierre Thieulent to excel in the mounted discipline. It is evident the jockey's style and weight is suited to mounted races with 21 of his 28 wins coming in that format.
All three of the rider's successes in 2021 have come in mounted events and with a superior experience being gained in this discipline, he looks more than capable of progressing through the ranks. It would be no surprise to see him enhance his 30% placed strike-rate in this years' mounted division with the prospect of better quality rides throughout the season.