Michelle Payne made history by winning the most significant horse race in Australia and now Kathy O’Hara has designs on a Cup win of her own.
The two friends will share the womens’ jockey room at Randwick on Saturday when Payne heads to Sydney to take two rides for brother Patrick in support races on the Boxing Day program.
It will be a rare local visit from racing’s newest celebrity who made an appearance at Randwick as a guest of the Australian Turf Club earlier this month but hasn’t ridden in Sydney for some time.
While Payne will be chasing small spoils, O’Hara is hoping to clinch the feature race when she links with Mighty Lucky in the Group Three Summer Cup.
O’Hara is Sydney’s most prominent female rider and says while she and Payne ride in different cities the pair shares a mutual respect.
“I caught up with her the other week when she was here but it has been ages since she has ridden at Randwick,” O’Hara said.
“I ride up here all the time and she’s down there but we bounce things off each other all the time.”
Mighty Lucky has been ridden by Nathan Thomas at 34 of his 35 starts for Cowell.
O’Hara is one of only two other jockeys to have paired with the horse in a race and with Thomas recently moving to Queensland, Cowell has again called on O’Hara to fill the void.
“It’s a nice pick-up ride,” she said.
A last-start fifth in the Villiers Stakes when he made ground from worse than midfield, Mighty Lucky will be tested at 2000m for the first time at Randwick.
O’Hara has complete faith in the judgment of Mighty Lucky’s veteran trainer despite the distance query.
“It will be hard work on Saturday given the track looks like being wet. It will be more like a 2200 metre race and that will test his stamina,” she said.
“But Fred is no fool so the horse wouldn’t be in the race if he didn’t think he’d stay.”
A field of seven will contest the Summer Cup, the light nominations proving too much of a temptation for Bjorn Baker who has confirmed Sebrina will back up for the third consecutive Saturday.
“With seven runners on Saturday it’s too logical,” Baker said.
“She’s going well and the more rain around the better. She’s in good order.”
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au