Hackney-born apprentice Kaiya Fraser is relishing his first ride at Epsom on Derby Day, when he partners Ancient Times in the most thrilling five-furlong test in Britain.
Fraser, a 7 lb. claimer based with trainer Harry Eustace in Newmarket, is one of the hottest apprentices in Britain, operating at a 38% strike rate in the last fortnight. He has been booked to ride Ancient Times, a general 12-1 chance, for his boss in the Aston Martin 'Dash' Handicap June 3.
The race, which holds the record for the quickest time over the minimum trip of five furlongs—clocked by Stone of Folca at :53.69 sec in 2012—will be special for the 20-year-old, who grew up in the London borough of Hackney and will have his family in attendance.
"It's only my second full season riding and for Mr. Eustace to trust me means I'm privileged to be in this position," he said. "I've worked hard to get where I am, but I'm really happy to have the backup and be trusted.
"It's great to be riding in such a race on such a big day and it would be amazing if we were to win it, but I never want to get too far ahead of myself.
"My mother and grandma should definitely be there, and my brother and his family might be there as well. It's going to be a great day."
The ride on Ancient Times, last year's Scottish Sprint Cup hero, continues Fraser's remarkable rise. He has had 18 victories since riding his first winner—Hi Ho Silver at Leicester—in September 2021, which came just three years after he sat on a horse for the first time.
"For me, it's going especially well. We are nearly halfway through the year, but I'm already on course to get more rides and winners than I did last year, which is nice," Fraser added.
"It's been ever so pleasing to see the way my season has been going, as I didn't expect the number of rides and winners I've had already. I've now just got to try to keep my head down, stay focused, and not get too far ahead of myself."
Fraser's claim will fall to 5 lb. in two wins' time and he hopes his career can continue to progress further each season he rides.
He said: "The target I've set myself is to always keep trying to get more rides and hopefully, that will lead to more winners than the previous seasons.
"It's a small target, but that's going well at the moment and hopefully, it's getting my name out there to other people as well."