A chance meeting at Moonee Valley led to promising apprentice Maggie Collett embarking on her dream career, which will take another step forward at Saturday’s Morphettville Parks meeting.
Collett was working as a strapper for champion trainer Chris Waller in Melbourne two years ago but harboured dreams of making the grade as a jockey.
A meeting with Goolwa trainer David Jolly was the spark that made Maggie’s dream a reality.
“I was strapping opposite David when he was at Moonee Valley one day and it all started from there,” she said.
“It was a coincidence that I met him there. I always wanted to do it (become a jockey) but I thought I’d get more opportunities in South Australia so I made the move.”
Maggie Collett with Trip at David Jolly’s stables in Goolwa. Picture: Matt TurnerSource:News Corp Australia
Collett left her family in Melbourne soon after meeting Jolly to start working towards her riding debut, which came in December last year.
Collett started her journey at country tracks such as Port Augusta, Port Lincoln and Kingscote on Kangaroo Island as Jolly helped her gain experience.
“You don’t really learn much riding at those places because they’re just jump and run tracks,” Collett said.
“But they were great places to start to get your fitness up and with less stress and pressure out there because everyone’s just having a good day out.”
The young rider has capitalised on the chances she has earned, riding 47 winners from more than 300 rides. But she gets her biggest opportunity to date when riding at Morphettville for the first time on Saturday.
Collett will make the trip into Morphettville with a win under her belt at Murray Bridge on Wednesday but she said there will still be a few nerves as she heads out onto the track for her first ride in town.
“There’s still a lot of nerves and I try not to think about it too much going into Saturday,” she said.
Collett with team up with the in-form Trip at Morphettville. Picture: Matt TurnerSource:News Corp Australia
Jolly has shown plenty of faith in Collett, giving her the ride on the in-form Trip, who will chase her fourth straight win in the Peter Elberg Funerals Handicap (1250m).
Trip has led throughout in her last three wins. Collett said she was likely to have similar instructions in Saturday’s $36,000 race.
“She’s quick out of the gate so this time in we’ve just let her run and it’s worked really well for her,” Collett said.
“The Parks track is definitely her kind of track.”
While Collett has a wonderful opportunity to win on her first ride at Morphettville, following in the footsteps of champion South Australian jockey Jamie Kah would perfectly suit the apprentice.
Kah’s prodigious talent has taken her from the top of the Adelaide riding ranks to currently leading the Melbourne jockeys’ premiership.
Collett said the reason for Kah’s success is obvious.
“I’ve been a really big fan of Damian Lane but Jamie Kah is amazing. She’s so smooth and easy and well-balanced,” Collett said.
“I watch her all the time. She’s been riding much longer than me but she’s actually beautiful to watch.
“She’s got beautiful hands and horses just run for her really well.
“I think everyone looks up to her, especially over here.”
Punters will be looking up to Maggie Collett as well if she can win on Trip on Saturday.
Sky Racing News Update; 12th November 2020.
Originally published asThe kid can ride: Maggie’s dream moves to bigger stage
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