Shayleigh Ingelse wasn’t letting anything stop her from becoming a jockey.
The 21-year-old, born and bred in Tasmania, set out to commence her apprenticeship in Victoria, before painfully missing out on the opportunity.
“I started riding racehorses in Victoria but I’m originally from Tasmania,” Ingelse said.
“I was there for two years, and I was trying to be an apprentice.
“I made it to the final nine of the (apprentice) selection process, but they ended up taking six, and when unsuccessful, I decided to come up here and progress my career.”
Ingelse subsequently joined the strong Kris Lees team, and after nine months in NSW, the Tasmanian product has been learning alongside some of best country and provincial hoops in the game.
“I joined Kris Lees and I’ve been here coming up nine months now,” Ingelse said.
“I thought I would give it a go and go to a big trainer, and be surrounded by the likes of Andrew Gibbons, Aaron Bullock and Dylan Gibbons.
“They have all taken me under their wing, plus Cameron Swan, Mal Ollerton and Sammy Clenton have all helped me a lot.
“Sammy, she isn’t riding at the moment, but she has helped me with my riding and getting contacts and Mal is always there on the sidelines, watching video, spending time with me and watching videos of track gallops.”
Ingelse was rewarded for her hard work and dedication on Friday, with the youngster – who was riding at only her third ever meeting – travelling to Port Macquarie for one ride and landing the first winner of her career.
The Newcastle-based apprentice was riding the Dale Wagstaff-trained Cool Missile and led all the way in the 1106m Benchmark 56 Handicap.
“I knew at the top of the straight I had it won,” Ingelse said.
“I more or less had them covered but all my confidence went out the window in the last 100m when I could hear the other horses, and I thought it was Bailey (Wheeler) or Andrew Gibbons making a move, but I couldn’t look back.
“When I won, I thought, ‘thank God for that, I’ve got it done’, and it was a huge sense of relief.”
Ingelse joked that she stole the ride from veteran hoop and work mate, Aaron Bullock, with the young jockey keen to ride Cool Missile at Port Macquarie.
“He (Wagstaff) wanted to put Aaron on, but I said, ‘take me and use the claim, I want to ride her’,” Ingelse laughed.
“We used to have Cool Missile at Kris’ and I knew she loved Port Macquarie and she loves a wet track, and I thought to myself, ‘she wouldn’t be getting beat today’.
Ingelse isn’t getting carried away after the win either and she was appreciating each day as a jockey with the Kris Lees stable.
“I want to build a good base here and get in good with a few good connections and keep riding winners,” Ingelse said.
“I came up here because I love the industry and the animals, and I didn’t get that chance in Victoria.
“My goal was to get to the races, take it one day at a time, and I will stick with that way of thinking and take very opportunity as it comes.”