Gustav Dahl might be young, but this isn’t his first pony show.
The 17-year-old — the youngest jockey on the National Steeplechase Association circuit — is in his second year of competitive racing and hopes to add to an already impressive résumé. A junior at Franklin High School, he is expected to ride in at least two of the amateur races preceding the 71st running of the Iroquois Steeplechase at Percy Warner Park on Saturday.
“He’s been galloping race horses since a couple years before he was ever old enough to be licensed to ride [at the age of 16],” Iroquois chairman Dwight Hall said. “He’s worked very hard at it.”
Dahl, who could not be reached for comment, is coming off the biggest win of his career. Last month, he rode owner/trainer Karen Gray’s Cuse to victory in the $20,000 Sandhills Cup at the Stoneybrook Steeplechase in Raeford, N.C. He won his first race last year while riding Cuse at the Virginia Gold Cup.
He spent last summer training under Jonathan Sheppard, the National Steeplechase Association’s all-time leading trainer. This summer he plans to work with association vice president and trainer Doug Fout.
“He’s doing it the right way,” Hall said. “He’s got a lot of talent and a lot of natural ability.”