Kayla Nisbet etches name in Country Championships folklore

Kayla Nisbet became the first woman to win the Country Championships final at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
The Canberra-based jockey rode the Doug Gorrel-trained Asgarda to victory in the $1 million final. Image: Bradley Photos.

Joining the likes of Tommy Berry, Blake Shinn, Hugh Bowman, and Kerrin McEvoy, respected Canberra-based jockey Kayla Nisbet etched her name in Country Championships folklore at Royal Randwick on Saturday. 

Teaming up with Doug Gorrel, Nisbet, who’s booted home nearly 600 career winners, became the first woman to win the country-restricted final, claiming the biggest triumph of her career as she rode Asgarda ($34) to a ‘boilover’ victory,

For Nisbet, she was just pleased to have a ride in the race, let alone score the big win.

“It’s a huge thrill. I was just saying, we say time and time again what a great initiative this has been for country participants, but to be able to win it is a huge thrill,” Nisbet said after the race. 

“It’s given all country participants an achievable goal to strive for and to be able to win it is very exciting.”

It was a ten-out-of-ten ride from gate six, as the pair won by a length and a quarter from the Brett Robb-trained Gallant Star (Sam Clipperton, $11). Three lengths back in third was the fast-finishing Rapbidash (Tommy Berry, $20) from the Lyle Chandler yard.

Nisbet, who rode the four-year-old The Brothers War mare to her second placing behind Bianco Vilano in the Southern Districts qualifier at Albury in late February, put all the praise back on Asgarda, who was trained to the minute for the final. 

“She’s so easy to ride, she really helps herself, she always bounces well and puts herself up on the speed,” Nisbet said. 

“Her last couple of runs, I’ve probably ridden her a bit out of her comfort zone just because they’ve been in ordinary fields, and I haven’t wanted to get in behind too many of them.

“Today, with good speed and a good draw, I knew we were going to get a nice run in behind them, and she just showed an electric turn of foot.”

The result was also huge for Gorrel, and for more on the win and their road to victory, click here