It is always interesting to find out how different jockeys ended up in the thoroughbred racing industry, whether it be via pony club, a connection to the sport or simply just a leap of faith.
For some, they were always destined to be a jockey, and that certainly applies to Gosford product Hollie Hull, with the 22-year-old born and bred into the sport.
The daughter of former jockey Nick Hull and former trainer-turned Godolphin foreman Tina Rogers, Hull admitted racing was in her blood.
“Ever since I can remember, I have always wanted to be a jockey,” Hull said.
“My dad (Nick Hull) was a jockey, my cousin Jake Hull, and my other cousin Ben Hull, and their father Mark Hull all rode too.
“My mum (Tina Rogers) was a trainer. She was based at Gosford, and she is foreman to Godolphin.”
Hull no doubt has some good insight into the industry, with her family more than willing to offer the youngster plenty of advice.
“Naturally they come to me with advice, or if I have any questions, I will call someone and ask them and they are all very helpful,” Hull said.
Hull only kicked off her career in the saddle late last month when finishing third aboard the Tony Newing-trained Alpha Go at Dubbo.
On Friday, at only her second-ever ride, Hull was in the winner’s circle, combining with Clint Lundholm when taking out the 1400m Class Three Handicap aboard Ferus at Dubbo.
Hull was made to work for the win, with Ferus ($3) finding the front on the home turn before engaging in a battle with the Brett Robb-trained Morgenstern.
With the pair going hammer and tongs down the long Dubbo straight, Hull was able to get enough out of the five-year-old, winning by 0.16 of a length in the end.
“It was good that the other horse was right beside me and scrubbing me up and it got him (Ferus) going again,” Hull said.
“He half gave up, and when that horse (Morgenstern) came up next to us, he wouldn’t let it go past and he kept kicking and won.”
Hull was elated to land her first winner, but admitted the moment went by very quickly.
“It was so weird,” Hull laughed.
“It all happened pretty quickly, and I didn’t really know what to think. I couldn’t speak but I was over the moon.”
The amateur jockey never expected to ride a winner so early on in her career, but she was pleased, nonetheless.
“No, not really,” Hull replied when asked if she thought she would ride a winner so quickly.
“Trainers only put you on ones that are a bit older and ones that carry a bit of weight, so I never expected to get a winner so early.
“Still, it was exciting. It’s obviously every apprentice jockey’s dream to win their first race, but when it happens, it is a bit surreal.”
Hull will get more opportunities to ride winners for Lundholm in the near future, with the young jockey on loan to the Dubbo trainer for the time being.
“I am indentured to Damian Lane, but he sent me out on loan to Clint to start off my race riding,” Hull said.
“It has been really good.”
Hull does have a lot of experience riding trackwork, and she touched on her career to date, with the youngster having spent time with some very accomplished stables.
“I have been riding trackwork since I could when I was 15 and that is all I have ever done,” Hull said.
“I was initially apprenticed to Tony Newing, then I went to Grant Allard and because he is based on a farm, I thought my opportunities would be limited, and I needed to get out and I started riding trackwork and went to Wyong.
“The first person that I was with was Adam Duggan. He is probably my biggest mentor and the bloke I go to if I have a hard question that I have to ask.
“Plus, Jenny Duggan; she actually taught me how to ride and she has been great.”
As far as what the future holds for Hull, she has already ticked off her major goals, and now, learning and developing her craft was the main focus.
“I don’t really know if I have any major goals. I sort of smashed the only goals I had set,” Hull laughed.
“That was to get to the races and then obviously get a winner, and my only goal now is to improve, keep listening to everyone’s advice and go from there.”