Jockeying time in and out of saddle

Headshot of Mitchell Woodcock
Mitchell WoodcockSouth Western Times
Kyra Yuill is all smiles after finding some form and happiness as a rider-trainer.
Camera IconKyra Yuill is all smiles after finding some form and happiness as a rider-trainer. Credit: Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson

Champion South West jockey Kyra Yuill admits she questioned her passion for riding before rediscovering her love for the sport as a dual-licensed trainer-rider.

Yuill created history in September when she became the first jockey to win aboard a horse she also trained in the State’s modern racing era after riding Scooter’s Machine to victory at Belmont Park.

The 27-year-old made a name for herself in 2011 when she became the first female jockey to win a Perth Cup and was in demand for many years, before her form and passion started to wane.

“I was up in the air and didn’t really know what I was going to do,” Yuill said.

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“I was not getting a lot of rides. I still enjoyed it when I rode, but it has its ups and downs.

“Things just get tough and you hit flat spots.

“It happens to everyone. Since I have done my apprenticeship I have not been riding as good as I was. You just lose your mojo a little.

“You talk to a footy player, once their season is over they are tired of it and ready for a few months off. Well we do not have that. It is a full on job.”

Yuill said training horses helped to find her place in the industry.

“It (training and riding) is a good way to start playing around with some horses without hanging the boots up.

“It just breaks things up instead of being like, ‘I am done riding and now it is time to train’.”

Training combined with some time racing in Broome and Esperance helped Yuill find some form in the saddle and satisfy that will to win.

“I am getting my five or six rides a week, so I am staying in the saddle,” she said.

“You have to ride as much as you can and if that Group 1 horse comes, then you have to take it and run.”

Through her licence Yuill is allowed just five horses to be in work at a time and has now partnered with her father Graham in an attempt to find some quality rides.

But Yuill travelled a long road to find her happiness, going to Melbourne for three months last year, before returning to Perth and working for Grant and Alana Williams for six months.

“Dad’s worker hurt herself, so I came home to help him run his business,” she said.

Victoriouschino will be Yuill’s next ride, with the pair looking for a win in a three-year-old maiden race over 1410m at the Bunbury Turf Club today.

“It is still a little bit short for her, but I was really happy with her run the other day.

“She is pretty green and didn’t know what to expect. But I was happy with her as she hit the line pretty well. “I think the mile or even more will be better suited. But this is a winnable race.”

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