American jockey Kate Petersen will make her debut at the Cobar Miners Race Club picnic meeting on Saturday, with the amateur hoop finally getting the chance to show off her skills in the saddle.
While it will be the 29-year-old’s first time in a race, Petersen knows what it takes to get the job done, having spent the past four years working for Goulburn trainer Danny Williams as a forewoman.
The experienced horsewoman, who has plenty of exposure to the thoroughbred racing industry, has also spent time as a veterinary nurse.
After working with eventing and polocrosse horses in America and New Zealand, Petersen explained how she came to be working in Australia and with the Williams team.
“I was a three-day event rider and trainer in the states, and I somehow got into polo horses, and got offered to go to New Zealand, and I spent six months there and six month back in the states,” Petersen said.
“I had a bit of a break when on the way back to New Zealand one time, and I came to Australia, and I met my partner, and so I ended up staying and riding racehorses, and now I am foreman for Danny Williams and have worked my way up to trials.”
It has been a whirlwind period for the Danny Williams team, especially following the rise of 2022 NSW Country Horse of the Year, Shelby Sixtysix.
In fact, Petersen worked closely with the winner of the Group 1 Galaxy and Group 3 Maurice McCarten Stakes, suggesting it has been the high-point of her time in Australia.
“That day with Shelby when he won (the Galaxy) was one of the best. He’s been such hard work, but he’s one of my favourite horses,” Petersen said.
“I did a lot of his work, and took him down to the beach swimming, and it was a pretty good feeling to see him come out and show everyone that he can compete at that standard.”
While the American is a more than capable forewoman, she wants to become a professional jockey, and she is happy to be kicking off her career at the picnics.
“The goal is to become professional, but I need to sort out my citizenship first, but I want to have a bit of a go, and thought I’d start with the picnics and go from there,” Petersen said.
It’s hasn’t been all smooth sailing for the picnic hoop, who has dealt with her fair share of injuries, but she is back riding and ready to go ahead of Saturday’s program.
“I got set back a little bit because at the very beginning of September, I was helping the vet because I used to be a vet nurse, and the horse struck me and broke all the knuckles in my hand, so I’ve only been back riding for a month now,” Petersen said.
As far as her debut at the picnics, Petersen admitted to some nervous excitement.
“I am feeling good now; I am trying to take it day-by-day and think about what I have to do today and worry more about tomorrow when it comes,” Petersen said.
“I’m sure I’ll be nervous, but as soon as I get on, it will be all good and I am looking forward to it.
“That trainer (Allan Prisk) that I am riding for is really nice, and I told him it is my debut, and he just told me to have fun and enjoy it.”
The pair kick off proceedings at Cobar, with Jawsome contesting the 1000m Open Trophy before they combine with Sun Master in the 1000m Class One Trophy Handicap, Cinders in the 1200m Maiden Plate, Rebel Lilly in the 1200m Class B Handicap, and Equilibrium in the 1370m Open Trophy Handicap.
Prisk, who was more than happy to give Petersen a chance, believes he can give her a winner at her first ride.
“I reckon Jawsome will give her a flying start,” Prisk said.
“I hope she can get a winner. She rang someone looking for a full book, and they gave her my number, and I thought I’d give her a go and we’ll see how she handles it.”
It’s another big day of picnic racing at Cobar on Saturday, and plenty of locals and racing fans will be out to watch Petersen in action.
On the day, there is a six-race-card, full bar, BBQ, and prizes for pop up prince and princes, and more information on the meeting can be found by clicking here.
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