09/24/2009 11:00PM

Cheyne notches first victory, earns his whip


FORT ERIE, Ontario - Apprentice Jockey Brian Cheyne took only four mounts to the gate before notching his first career win.

The rail-skimming hand ride on Sept. 14 was impressive enough for the Fort Erie stewards to allow Cheyne to use a whip in future races, and the announcement from track announcer Peter Kyte came shortly after the young rider left the winner's circle for the first time.

The 20-year-old Cheyne - whose father, John, was a jockey - openly admits that in his youth he was scared of horses.

"My father rode Thoroughbreds, but for some reason I was not comfortable around them and becoming a jockey was not on my agenda," Cheyne said. "Then one day, when I was just sitting around doing nothing, my mom asked why I didn't go out to the backstretch and find some work."

So at 16 Cheyne faced his fears, put them away, and went to work mucking stalls and even getting aboard a Thoroughbred in the shed row.

Two years later, Cheyne was galloping horses at Woodbine and spending his winters in Tampa, Fla., while learning his trade.

"The first winter of working horses down south was a great experience, but it was in Tampa that I went down and cracked two ribs," Cheyne said. "My recovery period was brief, and since then I have been accident-free - touch wood."

Under the tutelage of Woodbine trainer Bob Tiller, Cheyne continued to gain experience, and then after another winter in Tampa, he began to work with trainer Scott Fairlie. He received his jockey's license this year.

Brother's Griem was his first-ever ride on Sept. 13 and ended up finishing fifth. Only four races and one day later, Cheyne scored his first win, aboard trainer Billy Lane's 5-1 Bubba Luke.

"I would like to thank the many trainers and riders that helped me get to this point," Cheyne said. "Without their help, I would not be here. Even now, although I compete against them, both jockeys Kirk Johnson and Daniel David are giving me much-needed riding tips."

Cheyne, who resides primarily in Fort Erie, is working horses every morning at the track.

"At the moment, I am getting aboard four or five horses in the a.m. for trainer Mike Newell," said Cheyne, who will hang up his tack for the year if three more wins come his way before the end of the season. That way, he will retain his apprentice allowance for next year.

"I am taking it one day at a time and just doing the very best I can."

However, it should be noted that things seldom go as planned and at times there is a "bug" in the system.

Cheyne ran into one of those bugs late last Tuesday afternoon when a sizable bee stung him. He had to take off his last two mounts of the day.