The Leeton hoop, who kicked off her career at Wagga Picnics last year, finally tasted success when booting home the Michelle Borserio trained Benno’s Boys in the 1200m Open Trophy Handicap before backing up and winning the Ardlethan Cup aboard Lets Get Animal for Maddy Collins.
“It was definitely a great feeling, I had been being saying before the races and when the fields came out that I would be winning the Ardlethan Cup, so I’m glad it worked out that way,” Bourke laughed.
It was a close finish though, with her mount only getting home by the barest of margins over the Belinda Wright ridden and Scott Spackman trained, Cryfowl.
“I was a little bit confident after the race, but the jockey on the outside of me was confident too,” Bourke said.
“I was actually waiting to get back into the mounting to see who had won and I was really happy to find out it was my horse.”
Bourke might be reasonably new to the NSW picnic racing scene, but she is no stranger to the saddle, having worked for Peter Clancy for over a decade.
“I have been riding for 12 years, but that is only doing track work,” Bourke said.
“It’s only the last year that I’ve got my licence to ride in races. It’s just a hobby, I am a little bit too big to be going professional, but I want to have a bit of fun with it and see how I go.”
The 28-year-old has had to deal with a few obstacles on her path to race riding, with Covid-19 and injuries playing their part, meaning it was extra satisfying to win at Ardlethan – a track close to Bourke and her family.
“I was actually meant to debut at Ardlethan last year, but that’s when Covid hit and Wagga put on the extra meeting for us, so that’s where I started instead,” Bourke said.
“Covid hit but I fell off in May last year and broke two bones – a collarbone and thumb.
“It took a little while, but my family had a farm in Barellan, so it was a bit special to win there.”
Bourke admitted she still had a lot to learn, but she wanted to keep riding and winning in an effort to get her name out there with trainers.
“I definitely want to stay on top and get winners if I can, but there is a lot to learn,” Bourke said.
“There are not too many (picnic) meetings in the SDRA, but for now, it is sort of about getting my name out there and letting trainers know who I am, and if I can do that, I will be happy to travel and take rides.”
For the moment, Bourke will set her sights on Tullibigeal Picnics, with two rides on the day.
Bourke first jumps aboard the Chris Heywood trained Corazon De Oro in the 975m Tullibigeal Bracelet before teaming up with Peter Clancy on Flying Arion in the 1600m Class One Trophy.
Tullibigeal Picnic races, who are set to race for the first time in three seasons, after missing out in 2019 due to the weather, and 2020 due to Covid-19, have a big six-race-program on offer, with the first race scheduled to get underway at 1.35pm.