A promising Somerset jockey and former Huish Episcopi Academy student has joined Brian Barr's Longburton yard.
Mitch Bastyan took up his new post this week following a six-month stint with Herefordshire trainer Kerry Lee at Byton. The 18-year-old from Somerton - who left Huish Episcopi in 2014 - had his finest moment in the saddle under Rules when finishing second on Norphin for Queen Camel trainer Simon Hodgson at Wincanton last month as an amateur. Yet now he has applied to become a conditional rider. The status is for jockeys under the age of 26 with less than 75 rides to their name and marks the beginning of the process of becoming a professional.
Bastyan has had limited opportunities to date but impressed Barr when partnering the stable's The Boss On The Hill in a handicap hurdle at Worcester in September and on Spillers Dream at Cheltenham during October.
The trainer said: "Mitch is an ambitious lad and wants to progress his career. Kerry wanted him to be an amateur for another year but he wants to turn conditional. We are in a position to take on an amateur/conditional, we had a long chat and decided that moving here would benefit both of us.
"He'll be part of the team and will fit in well here – he's very focused and very driven. I've seen him riding alongside other amateurs and he doesn't look like an amateur. When he rode Theboss On Thehill, who's a tricky horse, Mitch probably got more out of him than any other rider."
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