Christmas has come early for the State’s newest apprentice Margaret Collett, as she is set to make her riding debut at Ceduna on Saturday.
The 21 year-old who is indentured to David Jolly has been riding for over 12 years and proved that nagging as a kid can actually pay off!
“From an early age my twin sister and I continually nagged our mother until she eventually weakened and bought us our first ponies. From then on life has always been centered around horses.”
Collett and her sister joined the local Werribee Pony Club and started competing nearly every weekend.
“Not long after finishing my VCE I fortunately acquired a stablehand role at Chris Waller’s Flemington stable. It wasn’t long until I got my first ride on a racehorse and since then I have always had my heart set on riding in races.”
A chance meeting with trainer David Jolly at Moonee Valley a year ago saw her dream of becoming a jockey, a reality after he gave her the opportunity to move to SA and become an apprentice.
“Settling into South Australia has been a rollercoaster ride. Leaving my family, friends and everything I know hasn’t always been smooth sailing.”
“I am extremely lucky to rarely go a month without having my supportive mother visit. Nor does a day go by without a phone call back home. Having a supportive team here in SA as well as back home in Melbourne has helped motivate myself to keep striving to make the most of every opportunity that arises.”
Since making the move to SA Collett lists her biggest supporters as Briony Moore, Darryn Murphy and Clare Lindop.
“Briony has guided me throughout my journey in South Australia. Darryn has been there from day dot and is always there to help guide and better me as a rider.”
“Clare has taken me under her wing since my move to SA and it’s been a fantastic experience to learn from a highly experienced and skilled role model.”
From her mother to her mentors, there is no doubt all her supporters will be following her debut at Ceduna incredibly closely on Saturday.
“I’ve heard the community spirit in Ceduna is electric and it’s a fantastic day out.”
“I cannot wait for the gates to open for the first time, to be on course with fellow jockeys that have given me their guidance to the point that I can ride alongside them now. As expected, I have plenty of nerves and excitement leading into Saturday.”
At least she won’t have to wait long for her first ride as she partners Rocket Lyles for Tony Haddy in Race One.
The horse won his maiden race on Streaky Bay Cup Day earlier this year but has found going a bit tough since then.
Her second ride will be aboard Trevor Montgomerie’s Auguster Rush. The Port Augusta visitor should appreciate the rise in trip to 1300m on Saturday and looks a decent chance for the debutant.