Future Looks Bright For Jayla

By Abby Delucyk

Jayla, at the tender age of 17, has taken on the challenge of retraining the racehorse, Classic Bright, transitioning him from the racetrack to the world of eventing.

The journey began when Terry Evans, a respected trainer in Tuncurry, was seeking a good home for Classic Bright. Jayla, with a keen eye and a passion for horses, eagerly stepped up to the plate. Since August 2023, Jayla and Classic have set out on their retraining journey together, already competing at Taree Show and having outings to Pony Club.

“I think his personality is what makes him so special! He has a sweet kind face and is a placid horse, with no intention of hurting you,” Jayla gushes.

Growing up in a family of horse lovers, Jayla learned the ropes of retraining from her mum and aunties who are seasoned riders. “I love starting from the ground to make a connection with the horse and working from there. I try and do all disciplines with my horses to let them do everything,” she said.

Her love of horses was engrained in her from a young age, constantly begging her parents for a horse since she was 5.

Besides her time with her horses, Jayla is a high school student juggling her studies with a stablehand qualification through TAFE. Her day starts early, taking care of four horses before heading to school and then returning home to complete feeding.

Dream of becoming a jockey, inspired by her grandfather’s love for racing, fueled Jayla’s ambitions to join the Racing industry. However, as she grew, she realized she may be too big for a jockey and instead switched her goals to becoming a racehorse trainer in the future.

“I got a job when I was younger at the Trots at Menangle Park before relocating up north to Tuncurry. This is where I discovered Terry and his stable,” Jayla said.

Local trainer Terry Evans has played a significant role in Jayla’s journey into racing. “He is great trainer and a good boss – he will explain something to you if you get it wrong, not yell or anything. His horses are all very respectful as well.

“I love everything about racing and working with horses. I especially love all the training and watching the horses progress with their different training,” she said.

Looking ahead, Jayla has her sights set on another one of Terry’s horses, Sir Ravenlli, the Mid North Coast Country Championships winner as her next retraining prospect.

Despite going into Year 11 and facing questions about her future, Jayla is clear about her goals. “I have my mind set on eventually becoming a racehorse trainer but also have my own business retraining and selling retired Thoroughbred racehorses,” Jayla concluded.

Students becoming ‘Thoroughly Schooled’

By Mark Brassel

A five-day Racing NSW training initiative called ‘Thoroughly Schooled’ – delivered in partnership with Training Services NSW, Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association and TAFE NSW at Scone – has proved highly successful.

The program incorporated practical skill sets including a four-hour work placement on a stud farm and racings stables and received Government funding via Training Services NSW.

The aim of the program is to build on the career aspirations of students who have expressed an interest in pursuing a career within the equine industry.

“This program provides an immersive career and industry exposure opportunity within the local community and incorporates critical employability skills,” explained Stu Rich, Executive Officer for NSW TRB Training Ltd.

“Based upon the 2021 recommendations of the pilot program and evolving from the August and October 2022 programs, the design of the Thoroughly Schooled 2023 program attracts Year 10 to12 school students from targeted regions of New South Wales as a career immersion program into the equine industry, with a specific focus on Thoroughbred breeding and racing streams.”

Some of the objectives of the project are:

  • Building capabilities among students in the skills and knowledge needed for post-school employment and training in the equine industry
  • Inform and promote the diversity of career opportunities in the equine industry
  • Establish partnerships between participating stud farms and racing stables and schools around NSW for future collaboration

Performance outcomes included a greater awareness of the equine industry and diversity of careers available, receiving practical non-accredited skill-sets relevant to the industry, site visits and introductions to influential employers and stakeholders in the equine industry and work experience on both a breeding stud farm and racing stables.

Some of the activities these students participated in included non-accredited training by TAFE NSW across 2½ days consisting of classroom lessons focused on Thoroughbreds and the racing industry, practical lessons on horse-handling skills and Work, Health & Safety tutelage.

There were also bus tours to key industry partners such as Scone Race Club, Godolphin’s Kelvinside and Woodlands, Arrowfield Stud and Scone Equine Hospital.

The Thoroughly Schooled program was promoted to local schools in the Hunter & Central Coast region, New England, Mid & North Coast, Far West and Blue Mountains and Western Sydney.

An excursion package form was created that coalesced various forms detailing accommodation, duty of care, insurance, transport, TAFE enrolment and Risk Assessment.

Middlebrook Station accommodation was sourced with a capacity for up to 18 students.

HTBA coordinated transport for the students to be picked up from their accommodation and transported to TAFE Equine Campus and to venues across the week.

Training took place on TAFE NSW’s Equine Campus in Scone and all students handled multiple horses during the practical activities that included horse behaviour, handling, grooming and horse control and care.

All students undertook two mornings of observational work experience with a racing stable and a Thoroughbred breeding stud. Participating in the program were Glastonbury Farm, Vinery Stud, Ridgmont Farm and Newgate Farm.

Racehorse trainers that participated were Luke Pepper, Cameron Crockett, Stephen Jones, Scott Singleton, Brett Cavanough and Rodney Northam.

Stu Rich said: “Overall, the program structure goes from strength to strength and from an industry perspective there is an appetite to run at least two of these programs per year to showcase the industry to more Year 10 to 12 students across NSW with future delivery of the program anticipated again at Scone during 2024.”

Chasing Dreams In The Saddle

By Abby Delucyk

When envisioning a typical 16-year-old girl, you might not imagine her going to bed at 8pm with the aspiration of waking up early at 4am to ride trackwork. However, for Poppie Gorton, this is her dream life.

Poppie was inspired by her mother’s love of horses from an early age and had a dream to pursue her love of riding. “My grandma made me a rocking horse when I was born and apparently, I just refused to get off and would stay there all day,” Poppie said.

Poppie began riding at the tender age of three, and her competitive spirit led her to enter her first competition at just six years old in Scone. While she only attended Pony Club twice, Poppie consistently took riding lessons and gradually progressed to participating in clinics. She has been fortunate to have the same coach, Sandy Lucas, for 13 years.

Poppie’s passion for Thoroughbreds is evident through her proud ownership of five off-the-track Thoroughbreds. “I love that with horses, you have a built-in best friend. They aren’t just built for going fast, they actually love their next job and are so versatile. I was drawn into eventing because of the adrenaline rush you get doing three disciplines in one,” she said.

With multiple competitions under her belt, Poppie shifted her focus to the Inaugural Equimillion competition, featuring $1,000,000 in prizemoney. “I didn’t have high hopes leading into the event as I had an injury 2 months before so only really had a few weeks to prepare.” Despite this, Poppie exceeded expectations and was crowned Grand Champion of her class, taking home an incredible $15,000 in prize money.

As Poppie invested her time into riding, school started to become a second option. Eventually, she made the decision to leave school at the end of Year 10.  

With her riding skills advancing, a friend named Rosie introduced her to the world of race riding. This new career path hadn’t crossed her mind until she saw a video of Rosie galloping down the straight where her interest was immediately provoked. Through Rosie, she was introduced to well-known Hawkesbury trainer, Brad Widdup who saw talent in this rising star.

With Brad’s support, Poppie’s parents agreed to her joining the local Hawkesbury stable as a trackwork rider. As her journey progressed, Brad suggested that Poppie explore the role of an apprentice jockey, considering her lightweight frame.

“Working with Brad is everything I’ve wanted and more. The whole Widdup family has supported me, and it feels more like I am working with a family. They understand I am still young and learning”, Poppie said.

Poppie is now on the path to becoming an apprentice under Brad, aspiring to follow in the footsteps of legendary jockeys like Kathy O’Hara and Rachel King. She sets her short-term focus on obtaining her apprentice license and working towards her first jump out.

“I wouldn’t trade my job for the world. It is hard at times to see your friends go out while you’re in bed early, but I know in the long run, everything will be worth it,” Poppie concludes.

Small Steps Pay Off For Millie

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. 

Jake’s Quickly Getting Into Rhythm

By Abby Delucyk

Being born into a racing family Jake Hull, 30, was determined to follow in his family’s footsteps and one day, jump in the saddle himself. “I remember running around as a three-year-old with dad’s whip and pretending that the lounge was a racehorse,” Jake recalls. With cousin Josh Parr and brother Ben Hull already established in the industry, Jake quickly found his way in and struck success at a young age.

“I was about 13 when I moved to Mudgee to ride track work before moving to Gosford at 15 to start my apprenticeship with Grant Allard. I knew I would always struggle with my weight as I was taller so wanted to start trackwork riding as early as possible,” Jake said.

Despite Jake’s tall frame posing a threat to his riding, he started race riding at the ripe age of 15. “In all my career my most memorable ride would have to be on my 18th birthday when I rode in my first Group 1 in the 2011 Queensland Oaks on board Nayana,” he said.

As Jake’s success built, so did his injury list. It wasn’t until a race meeting at Gosford that Jake decided to call time on his riding career after wasting all week.

“I had a fair few stints on the sidelines due to weight and race falls during my time. My body really started to feel the effects of extreme dieting and I had niggling injuries which just kept coming back. So, I decided that it was time to give riding away,” Jake said.

With Jake’s time in the saddle drawing to a close, this decision didn’t come lightly for Hull. “It was really hard to call time on my career and quite difficult once I stopped riding to be honest. I really missed my mates in the jockey room and the banter.  There was still a will to ride but my body just wouldn’t allow me to do it anymore,” Jake said.

Although this decision was tough, Jake was fortunate enough to gain employment with John O’Connor at his world-class training centre at Feale Park. Slotting into an Assistant Trainer role, this made the transition easier for Jake.

“I always knew my time in the saddle was limited so I wanted to become a trainer after. I had to work hard to get this opportunity and I’m just grateful that John put a lot of trust into me.”

“As a trainer there is a lot of obstacles and hurdles you have to juggle as you are working with horses who can be very temperamental. You want everything to go right and get the best results out of your horses,” Jake details.

Over the next few months, Jake spent time developing his training skills under the guidance of John O’Connor. As his hard work started to show, Jake pushed through the nerves and decided to go out on his own.

Training out of Feale Park, Jake developed his own stable which now has more than 30 horses in work.

Remembering his first runner, Rejinsky who ran 4th at Warwick farm in late 2022, Jake recalls, “It was a big thrill to have my first runner in Sydney and for him to run a really good race. A very nerve-wracking experience though.”

Jake dedicates his fast-tracked success to his previous years in the saddle. “Definitely having a riding background has helped me become a better trainer as I am actually able to do the main gallops myself and get a good feel of the horse. It’s a very good asset to have,” he said.

With Jake now settled and excelling in this new chapter, he looks to have consistent runners & winners at Sydney tracks, which all contributes to his ultimate goal of winning a Group 1 race.

Racing’s giving Loni a fantastic ride!

By Abby Delucyk

Loni Fuller’s love for horse racing was sparked by a basic riding lesson, igniting a lifelong passion which has captivated every facet of her life.

Since childhood, Loni has been immersed in the equine world, having grown up with a horse on her family’s farm. Although her mother was a rider, she did not come from a racing background. Loni always had a fondness for working with animals but was unsure of how to turn this passion into a career.

It wasn’t until it was time for Loni to start a career, that she decided to put aside her love for animals and instead study a business course through TAFE.

While completing her degree, Loni always had this urge that she wanted to learn to ride but thought she missed the boat as she was 22 and maybe too old to start a new sport. Pushing past this thought, Loni and her close friend decided to enrol themselves into a riding lesson at a local stable.

“It was here that it clicked in my head that maybe I wanted to do something with horses. I got really into riding and signed myself up for a breeding course through TAFE to learn more, but unfortunately due to covid it didn’t run,” Loni said.

This roadblock didn’t dim Loni’s passion for horses and instead pushed her to consider a career in the racing industry. Loni acted upon this thought and reached out to popular Newcastle trainer Kris Lees to apply for a stable hand job with him.

“I just wanted to see if the racing industry was for me. I haven’t looked back since,” she said.

Within a matter of weeks, Loni became invested in the racing industry and in her time at Kris Lee’s she had many rewarding moments. After two years she decided it was time to move on and sought career advice from Samantha Clenton, who was the foreman she was working under at the Lee’s stable.

“Samantha’s advice was that I should go to Leah Gavranich and Paul Messara at Arrowfield, so I applied for a job there. Ever since the interview, Leah has taken me under her wing and taught me so much within the past year. Leah is such a good horse woman and is really big on educating her horses which has been great to learn,” Loni said.

With this guidance and new position, Loni and her partner relocated to the horse capital of Scone as she has pursued full time employment at the Arrowfield training centre.

“At Arrowfield, they are giving me the tools and experiences to one day slot right into any role I wish to persue in the future, within Arrowfield or elsewhere. This is because of both Leah and Paul’s extensive knowledge and their encouragement to upskill myself by getting my truck license and completing a short leadership course which has been pretty amazing,” she said.

Although Loni details the highs of her role, she also doesn’t shy away from the reality of working with animals. “The early mornings and long working hours can be really hard some days, but I wouldn’t change it at all. Coming from working in other industries I look back now and realise how happy I am that I am here. You couldn’t pay me enough to go back,” Loni stated.

As Loni continues to upskill herself through the support of the Messara Racing team, she works towards her end goal of one day being able to train racehorses. “I am in the right place to learn and train successfully as I am so happy with Arrowfield and appreciate how much time they have invested in me so far. In the meantime, I would love to become a racing manager or a travelling Foreman if the opportunity arose,” Fuller said.

Career aspirations aside, it can be said that the racing industry has well and truly captivated Loni’s heart.

“For me, the best part of the racing industry is being able to connect with owners and create lifelong friendships that I wouldn’t have had if I wasn’t in the industry. I used to strap Enchanted Heart and now I am still very close friends with her owners,” Loni said. 

Spotted: Vashka at Hawkesbury’s Family Fun Day!

Our Team Thoroughbred representatives had a great day at the Godolphin family fun day on Sunday, July 9. The Team Thoroughbred tent featured an equiscizer, which was a hit with the future generation. Kids lined up, put on some silks and had a turn riding in Corey Browns race saddle and riding the equiscizer. Our team also had the opportunity to speak to parents & careers about the industry and Thoroughbred welfare and re-training in NSW.

The highlight of the day was having the opportunity for families to meet our Bart’s Farm resident, Vashka and Para-dressage champion, Cruise at the stalls from 2pm. Both horses got lots of hugs and pats from fans of all ages.

It was a great day to showcase Team Thoroughbred NSW!

“It is normal to not walk around at correct weight.”

by Meg Roberts (APD, Sports Dietitian)

In my experience as a Sports Dietitian for jockeys, a jockey’s weight management comes under three categories. Understanding which category you sit in, in my opinion, will help you to best manage your weight, mental and physical health and energy levels for performance. It is also important to understand that most jockeys do not walk around at correct weight, and this is perfectly normal. This is another reason I strongly encourage jockeys to advocate for themselves and ask not to be weighed on non-race days.

So what are the three categories?

Category I – Those that walk around at weight, naturally.

Category II – Those that do not walk around at weight but can manipulate glycogen and fluid stores to meet weight.

Category III – Those that will only meet weight by over exercising or developing an eating disorder as weight targets are physiologically impossible.

In reality most jockeys sit in category II or III. For those struggling with an eating disorder, making weight or you are not sure click the link or scan the QR code to the anonymous eating disorder screening tool via the Inside Out Institute; https://insideoutinstitute.org.au/assessment/?started=true . I also recommend speaking to your doctor or a dietitian. Racing NSW has a great initiative giving jockeys access to $300.00 per year to see a dietitian. If you need help put your hand up.

Weight management, where do we start? When it comes to weight management, regardless of which category you are, I always start by asking my athletes to complete a DEXA Body Composition Scan (Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry) and full bloods. Whether you are a pre-apprentice or a fully fledged professional jockey we need a baseline. DEXA scans give a thorough understanding of the athletes body composition, unlike your bathroom scales. As per the image and table below, the scan breaks down your fat, muscle and bone mass into grams. I start by looking at total mass (weight), fat mass and compare it to the jockey’s correct weight. Your correct weight may or may not be realistic based on your body composition and the DEXA scan helps us to decipher this. For many jockeys it gives them closure that it is ok to not walk around at weight, we then use other strategies to meet weight. This is why I strongly discourage jockeys, trainers, managers, and stewards from weighing jockeys on any other day than race day. It puts undue stress on jockeys and can trigger disordered eating/eating disorders. I’ve seen it time and time again.  A prime example of a weight classed athlete not walking around at weight is Conor McGregor.

Table 1: DEXA Body Composition Scan: Cis-Female Apprentice Jockey

When looking at fat mass, each person requires a minimum amount of fat for health. For cis-women no less than 10kg and cis-men no less than 5kg. If we use the example above, this jockey weighs 55.9kg and a subtotal fat 13.6kg (total fat – weight of head). In theory this jockey could aim to lose 3.6kg of fat (subtotal fat – minimum fat required 10kg) and sit at 52.3kg. She needed to sit at 54kg, therefore her correct weight was a realistic target. If the goal were 50kg it would be unrealistic to walk around at this weight. We could use glycogen depletion and fluid manipulation.

Blood tests
The second task I ask jockeys to complete is to have their blood analysed. This is to ensure there are no nutritional deficiencies or abnormalities that need to be corrected. Deficiencies can lead to an array of things including difficulty with weight management, a lack of energy, poor sleep, fatigue, delayed recovery, and lethargy. For an athlete you want to be firing on all cylinders, so we need to check and correct. Due to the nature of racing and shift work, common deficiencies of jockeys include iron and vitamin D. See your doctor today and ask for the following blood work: serum chemistry, LFTs, FBC, EUCs, full iron study, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, BSLs, Zinc, eGFR. For those consuming a restrictive diet of less than 1000 calories, have your doctor add thiamine, calcium, magnesium, and phosphate to your blood test.Once you have your results book an appointment with me to discuss if supplementation or only dietary changes are recommended.

Fuelling an athlete:

After looking at your DEXA scan and blood results, I look to improve the nutritional quality of your intake, both food and fluid, regardless of what category you are in. For those in category I, their weight may increase after improving their intake because they were essentially malnourished prior and/or dehydrated. Many of you would agree that a typical jockey diet is several coffees/tea per day, an energy drink and maybe one meal at night. How can you compete to your full potential if you aren’t fuelling yourself with nutritious foods.

We would start with the when, timing of meals, and then work on what, what you are eating. This will vary from jockey to jockey and which day of the week it is, race day vs trials. The final layer would be to add sports supplements to gain those extra one-percenters for improved performance. It is important to note sports supplements do not outweigh a poor-quality diet.

Manipulating glycogen and fluid to meet weight:

Now let’s jump to Category II jockeys, which would be most of you. This is because as a society we are getting taller, yet minimum weights are not increasing. This is unlikely to change soon, so we use the manipulation of fluid shifts and glycogen depletion to our advantage.

What is glycogen?

Your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose which is stored in your liver and muscles as glycogen. By depleting your glycogen stores, you can decrease your fluid stores and subsequently body weight. As many of you have seen, those that go on a low carbohydrate diet will lose ‘weight’. This is temporary as it is fluid loss not fat or muscle loss. You will essentially gain the weight back once your glycogen stores are replenished. Below are two videos, one about glycogen and the other about energy systems in the body. I thoroughly recommend these to gain an understanding of the science.

Glycogen Video: https://youtu.be/q6cp4M5Pw8M

Energy Systems Video: https://youtu.be/dWe8vtztW-4

To manipulate glycogen use The Hill Sprint Protocol written by researchers from the Professional Jockeys Association and John Moore’s University, UK. Through this protocol you can lose between 0.45-1.4kg (2-3lbs) depending on the individual. Other exercises can be used if you can’t sprint; an exercise bike or HIIT/circuit training. Have a try and see how you go. If you have significantly restricted your diet already, your glycogen stores may already be depleted. Use this protocol the day prior to race day and practice it first to see if it works for you and how much weight on average you can drop.

To ensure you know the sources of carbohydrates:
Carbohydrates come from wholegrains, breads and cereals, fruit, fruit juice (fructose), starchy or root vegetables, legumes and lentils, milk and yoghurt (lactose). They are also found as simple sugars in sugar, pastries, sweets, lollies, and soft drinks. You want to limit eating these after the Hill Sprint Protocol and consume a meal high in protein, low carb vegetables/salad and fats (i.e., olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocado). After the races, as you no longer must meet weight, top up your carbohydrates to help with recovery. An easy option will be flavoured milk and a Gatorade, then after getting changed a sandwich or wrap with chicken/turkey/ham with ++ salad.

Fluid manipulation:

In addition to depleting glycogen, you can look to strip body fluid. This can be through fluid restriction and active or passive sweating. It is important to note that dehydration does impact performance however for some this is the only option to meet weight. Some may opt for active sweating in the form of sweat suits during track work, running or cardio exercise or passive sweating in baths, saunas or steam rooms. You may also restrict fluid intake for the day prior to the races. To effectively rehydrate post races, record your weight pre and post sweat to calculate the fluid lost. Then multiply this by 1.5. This will calculate the litres required to rehydrate. For example, if you lost 1kg or 1L, top up with 1.5L of fluid. As your sweat is water and salt, it is important to top up electrolytes also. This can be in the form of sports drinks (Gatorade/Powerade) or Hydralyte tablets or icy poles. An example would be to consume a small flavoured milk post races (250mL) + Gatorade (600mL) and 650mL water, consumed over 1-2 hours post races = 1.5 Litres.

Those that are in category III or anyone using extreme weigh making techniques including eating one meal per day please seek help from your doctor or dietitian. Begin by completing the above questionnaire with The Inside Out Institute.


We did not touch upon supplements today, however if you are looking for safe supplements try True Protein. They are third party tested for banned substances to ensure they are safe for athletes to use. We have been extremely lucky and True Protein has given us a discount code: JOCKEY 

For orders over $100.00 you get $25.00 off by using JOCKEY. Go to trueprotein.com.au today!

I hope you enjoyed the above article. For more information or to purchase my 92-page weight making e-book, go to jockeynutrition.com.au

 Meg Roberts

Perseverance Starting To Pay Off For Grafton Lad

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.”

Godolphin’s Golden Girl

If you told a young Amy Walker that she would be donning the iconic blue uniform and strapping ‘Exploring’ in the prestigious 2023 Golden Slipper, she would have thought you were lying.

Now, this is her reality.

Amy’s love for horses was ingrained into her from a young age through the influence of her mother, who spent her childhood surrounded by horses.

“My mum passed on this passion as she bought me my first horse when I was around 7 years old. She always said I would grow out of this obsession I had with riding and kept insisting it was just a hobby. Much to her dismay I was very persistent with it, and she ended up buying me a years’ worth of riding lessons to help me develop my skills,” Amy said.

It was at Mulgoa Pony Club that Amy learnt the fundamentals of riding and got up at the crack of dawn every Saturday to ride.

Amy strapping Exploring in the 2023 Longines Golden Slipper.

With Amy still well and truly invested in riding, she purchased her first off the track Thoroughbred in 2013, who was a 3yo 17hh gelding called ‘Ace’. This purchase kick started her ownership of horses, which has expanded to having 4 horses in her care now.  

As Amy grew up, her introduction into the racing industry came through her experience of working at a TAB call centre for 3 years when she was fresh out of school.

“It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do but I knew it was never in an office job and instead working with animals. I left TAB and worked in a dog shelter before I started at a dressage stable with Hannah & Heidi Scott in Glenorie,” Amy said.

Although Amy had returned to working with horses, she still didn’t feel like she was in the right job.

“I always remember driving past the Godolphin stables at Agnes Banks and dreaming of working there. I thought why not ask if they have a position available, so I gave them a call but wasn’t hopeful at all because I know how hard it is to work there,” Walker said.

To Amy’s surprise, Godolphin came calling the next day to organise an interview which sent her hopes skyrocketing. Within 72hrs from her original call, Amy was offered a racing hand job for Godolphin.

“Godolphin is just an all-round amazing place to work, and I’ve achieved a lot with them. I’ve been there for 4 years now and genuinely can’t fault it,” Amy said.

Within these 4 years, Amy’s favourite moment was in 2019 when she strapped her first winner, Vivaro at Hawkesbury, just a month after she started at the well-known stable.

Despite this, Amy mentions, “My favourite horse will always be Segalas as she was the first horse I looked after at Godolphin and strapped for 3 years.  

“I love being a stable hand and strapper, but I would eventually love to explore the possibility of being a Foreman one day and working up to this. The good thing with Godolphin is they always offer room for growth and the opportunities are endless.

“I found my dream job which not a lot of people can say,” Amy concluded.