From the Show Jumping Arena to the Racetrack

By Abby Delucyk

At the age of 20 Chloe Mannell has achieved a multitude of things within the show jumping world but now she sets her sights on a new challenge, becoming a professional jockey.

For as long as Chloe can remember she has always been on horseback, with her fondest memories including riding around her family’s farm in Wagga Wagga with her older sisters. Chloe grew up riding and owning thoroughbreds including former Kim Waugh trained mare Jewel Quest and gelding Jackpot. “I love thoroughbreds! They are so easy to train and have such a nice temperament. No other breed compares to the nature of thoroughbreds.”

Chloe placing 2nd in Round 1 of the Juniors at the Australian Championships in Melbourne

It wasn’t until she was 10 that Chloe started to realise her talent in show jumping and being an adrenaline junky. Chloe immediately fell in love with it – “Show Jumping has always been my thing, but I have done a little bit of Polo cross and showing.” With incredible support from her family, especially her mum, Chloe began to take her training more seriously going on to win prestigious competitions and adding to her ribbon tally every weekend all while still in school. This competitive streak never wavered with Chloe riding on behalf of clients and travelling across Australia to compete in her early years before the demands of school started.

Aside from local competitions Chloe set her sights internationally being one of three show jumpers picked to represent Australia at the 2019 Princess Cup in Thailand, where they placed 6th overall. 2019 continued to be a winning year with Chloe taking out the Adelaide Junior Grand Prix and being the runner up in the Round 1 of the Australian Junior Championships. With these achievements also came the challenge of covid halting Chloe’s competition stride, with the 2020/21 lockdowns forcing all competitions to close and limiting Chloe’s opportunities to excel.

Chloe with ‘KM Texas’ at the Princess Cup in Bangkok

In 2019 Chloe decided to look for a job riding track work as an avenue to earn some extra money and continue fulfilling her passion of being around horses. This led to her becoming employed as a part time trackwork rider for a trainer at Wagga Wagga, fitting this in before the 9am school bell and on weekends.

“I used to get up before school and ride track work, do a full school’s day and then come home and train for show jumping. I would fit in study at lunchtime in school or try to get as much done as I could in class.”

Upon completing her HSC, Chloe decided to take time off track work riding to focus on her transition into university, completing a Bachelor of Social Work at Charles Sturt University part time. “I think it’s really important to have a second career option in this industry as you just never know.”

It wasn’t until her friend Jasmine suggested for Chloe to join her at Chris Waller’s Rosehill Stable in her uni break that she began trackwork riding again. “I went up only for a couple weeks in my break and haven’t left yet.” she said.

“Chris is an amazing trainer to work for! He always makes time for his staff and is super appreciative of his team even though he is a big trainer.”

Chloe strapping ‘Kiku’ in Brisbane for the Group 1 Tiara

Riding track work for Chris Waller has opened new doors for Chloe with, one being her new aspiration of becoming a jockey. “I wasn’t serious about becoming a jockey until I moved to Chris’ stable in December as I thought I would always become a professional show jumper. I remember my first jump out and my stomach just dropping, I instantly fell in love with the adrenaline of it.

I think there may be a few challenges in terms of being a female jockey but I really look up to the likes of Jamie Kah and Kathy O’Hara as I love that they race in the weekday and then compete in jumping on the weekends.”

With being in the supportive environment Chloe has continued to invest her time and efforts into becoming a jockey, enrolling in the Team Thoroughbred NSW Training Academy to complete her Certificate III in Racing (Track Work). With this qualification under her belt Chloe has set her intentions on making a career out of becoming a jockey, before returning to the show jumping arena to compete full time.

An average day for Chloe entails waking up at 3am to ride for Waller until 9:15, returning home to complete any uni study or catch up on some sleep, before going back to the stables to work from 2-4:30 and then finishing any uni study until she goes to bed and does it all again.

“I definitely want to stay here and give being a jockey a good crack, I genuinely love going to work every day.”