By Abby Delucyk
“One day, it just came to me that what I truly wanted to do was work with horses and in racing.”
For 26-year-old Jack Chard, his decision to make the move to Sydney is starting to pay dividends as he is set to start trials soon.
Growing up in the northern NSW town of Grafton, Jack’s interest in racing stemmed from his father who loved attending the races and having a punt. “Every year for my birthday Dad would take me to the Grafton Cup and that was probably the main reason why I wanted to get in racing,” Jack said.
This interest in racing intensified to Jack considering a career in racing once he finished school.
He started to apply for stable hand jobs across NSW. It wasn’t until one day that Jack received a call from Sydney-based trainer Jason Coyle, that he made the quick decision to make the move. “I came down from Grafton and got straight into work. I worked in the stables every morning and would strap at the races on the weekend,” he said.
Although Jack is new to Sydney, he had prior work experience in Grafton for trainer Wayne Lawson. “Dad was good friends with Wayne Lawson, and I was lucky enough to work with him. I would go out to the track twice a week in the mornings to help and actually rode a horse properly for the first time here,” Chard said.
As Jack became familiar with Sydney, he was introduced to Group 1 winning trainer, Annabel Neasham.
“Annabel came up to me one day when we were working at Ciaron Maher’s stable and asked if I wanted to ride. Straight away I went and bought all the equipment and 3 days later, she got me riding a pony. The first horse I ever sat on was Away Game, who 2 weeks later went on to win the Magic Millions which gave me a pretty big thrill,” Jack said.
It has been full throttle since then for Jack as he continues to ride full time for the Neasham stable. “Annabel is really good to work for as she has a lot of nice horses in work and provides really good feedback. I told her I would only come over if she let me look after Mo’unga as a joke, but she took it seriously and I have looked after him every day since,” he joked.
“It’s always been my dream to become a jockey but just never thought it was possible with my weight and height. I just thought if I never give it a crack, I will really regret it later in life,” Jack said.
Jack’s time at the Neasham stable has been quite memorable as he was able to travel to Queensland with superstar horse, Zaaki, and then to England last year to help work the horses while in quarantine.
As Jack has had a taste of international racing in the UK, he dreams of one day being able to ride in Dubai. In the meantime, he looks to develop his skills on home soil. “I love racing and really don’t see myself getting out it of it anytime soon.”