Teaghan Martin was never meant to be a jockey, with the youngster originally studying to be a nurse.
“I think I stated riding when I was eight, but it was off and on,” Martin said.
“No one in my family is in racing. I was actually studying to be a registered nurse and I got a few little lectures about finishing my degree and not racing but here I am.”
The New-Zealander, who moved to Australia three years ago, is now based in Canberra, and she will be the first person to admit she hasn’t had the smoothest start to her career in the saddle.
A run of injuries, including a broken leg and pelvis on separate occasions, coupled by a three-month suspension earlier this year, slowed down Martin’s progression but not her spirit.
“I suppose all those setbacks are just life,” Martin conceded.
“It’s not always going to be smooth sailing, and each challenge you have to tackle, but you have to move on.”
Martin’s dedication and resilience was rewarded at the Sapphire Coast Turf Club on Monday, with the 22-year-old breaking through for her first victory in the saddle.
Riding for her masters, Barbara Joseph, Paul and Matt Jones, the New Zealander guided Nicholas to victory in the 1612m Benchmark 66 Tathra Cup.
After winning her first race, Martin soon enough had the first double of her burgeoning career when helping the Joseph, Jones and Jones team to another victory, winning aboard Darn Shame in the 1212m Maiden Handicap.
“It was pretty good. I wasn’t exactly expecting it,” she said.
“I knew they would run well but I wasn’t expecting a win let alone a double.”
It has been a topsy-turvy road to the winner’s circle for Martin, who started out in Sydney with Chris Waller, before eventually finding herself in the nation’s capital.
“I’ve been here three years but to start with, it was really just to get a bit of experience and I was only meant to be here for six months but I stayed longer,” she said.
“I was actually at Waller’s but it was very spontaneous. I had only been riding track work very minimal before moving to Australia.”
Martin said it was a stint in Hawkesbury with Matt Vella that made all the difference.
“I joined Matt Vella in Hawkesbury and he is a good horseman and he taught me a lot,” Martin said.
“I was riding alongside him as well, and he was a big help with my career.
The chance to take up an apprenticeship then had Martin joining her current Canberra stable.
“Most of my time with Matt was obviously to do with pretraining and breaking, which was great, but I had to kind of fly the coup and go somewhere where it would be suitable for an apprentice to start,” Martin said.
“That’s how I ended up in Canberra.”
The Canberra hoop said becoming a jockey was always the goal when arriving in Australia, and she explained that her injury and suspension setbacks were compounded by the fact that she wasn’t a huge fan of living here until midway through her stay.
“It was kind of always the plan to become a jockey, but obviously I had to get comfortable with track work, but in all honesty, I didn’t like it here for a year and a half,” she said.
“I would probably say it changed when I was in Hawkesbury, and then coming down there, that next step pencilled it in and it gave me something to work towards.”
Now comfortable and riding winners for the Joseph, Jones and Jones team, Martin said she wanted to continue her career in Australia.
“I reckon I will probably just stay here but I need to keep working and I need to brush up on things,” she said.
When asked what she enjoyed most about riding, she said it came back to the horses themselves and the excitement of racing.
“I enjoy the connection with the horse and I enjoy a bit of adrenalin,” Martin said.
With the summer racing season beginning to really heat up, Martin will look to more success at Moruya on Monday, when riding the Sarah Murray-Leslie prepared Deviate in the 1010m Benchmark 58 Handicap.