By Abby Delucyk
Set to finish trials soon, Camilla, better known as Millie, has turned her childhood passion of equestrian sports into an exciting racing career.
Growing up on a property outside of Tamworth, Mille always had off the track Thoroughbreds as show horses. Her favourite was Walt, a gelding who was formally trained by Eric Hayes.
“We were a very horsey family like we went to shows on the weekends together and always did things with horses but never anything to do with racing,” Millie recalled.
With the glamour of horses striking Millie’s interest, she regularly competed most weekends and went on to place in both Sydney and Brisbane Royal in showing. She did this all while balancing her ongoing school commitments.
As school ended, Millie enrolled into a university course before she quickly came to discover that this wasn’t the path she wanted to take.
“I was starting to become really interested in racing and thought that there could potentially be a career in it for me. I reached out to local trainer Craig Martin to see if he had any work available at his stable and got a job there,” Millie said.
As Millie settled in to her new normal, the transition into racing came quite easily to her.
“Apart from the early morning wake ups, it was pretty normal as I have been around horses my whole life. Craig mentioned that I was the perfect build to be a jockey as I was quite small, so I started to ride trackwork.”
“I always knew it was going to be hard to ride like a jockey and was mindful of all the small steps involved as it was a different style of riding than I was used to,” Millie said.
Wanting to develop on this new riding style, Millie moved to the Hawkesbury to gain basic riding skills at a local stable.
“I started with Dan Robinson at DPR Horsemanship as my partner (Rory Hutchings) suggested I should go there to learn the basics. Dan is an amazing rider, especially with difficult horses, so it was really helpful to learn from him. I stayed here for 12 months just learning the ins and outs of everything like jump outs and being in the barriers,” Millie said.
Although Millie learnt to ride in Hawkesbury, she always knew that if she wanted to become a jockey, she would have to move into the city. She reached out to Peter Robl and landed a job at his Randwick stables.
Millie’s progression then came to a sudden halt as COVID lockdown struck Sydney, forcing her to return to Tamworth. “After lockdowns were over, I came back to Sydney where I went to work full time with Pete which was always the plan. I have always been recommended to go to Pete’s stable as he was such a good jockey back in his day and wanted to learn off him,” Millie said.
Millie decided to progress her riding so she reached out to Team Thoroughbred’s NSW Training Academy to earn a qualification. Through the Training Academy, Millie started on an Apprentice jockey path.
It was here that Millie started her apprenticeship with Pete and completed her first jump outs and trials. “My first trial at Randwick was on one of Les Bridge’s horses, Invincible Legend, which was quite a quiet horse. It was so nerve wracking, but I just remember Les saying to me “You’ll do great kid”,” she said.
Unfortunately for Millie, Pete decided to relocate to QLD, meaning she had to scout a new stable to work at. Kim Waugh’s popular stable at Wyong caught Millies’s eye and she made the move up north.
“Kim has some great horses in work at the moment and is a really lovely, supportive person. Wyong is also a great track as everyone gets along which is good,” she said.
With Millie calling Wyong home for the moment, she dedicates her focus to finishing her trials and taking out her racing license.
“I guess I dream of what everyone dreams of which is winning a Group 1 race. Right now, my goals are focused on riding and I haven’t really thought beyond that,” Millie concludes.
Subscribe to Redzel’s Roundup, the Team Thoroughbred e-newsletter, and be the first to know about our special events and activities, receive important information from our equine welfare veterinarians, read good news stories, go into the draw for Team Thoroughbred giveaways and most importantly be part of a passionate community of Thoroughbred lovers!