Apprentice Kayla Crowther has called South Australia home for nearly a year after arriving in August last year to start her career as a jockey.
A year ago, Crowther was working for the mighty Darren Weir stable across the border when she decided it was time to take the next step to becoming an apprentice jockey.
“I was riding trackwork and jump outs for Darren Weir but I was unable to undertake my apprenticeship with him so I spoke to a lot of people and they suggested I try moving to South Australia.”
With help from friend and fellow apprentice Justin Huxtable and a bit of luck, Crowther landed a job with well-respected trainer David Jolly.
“I’m good friends with Justin (Huxtable) and he spoke to Bill Forrestal (former UBET Apprentice Academy Training Supervisor) about me moving to SA. People at Darren Weir’s suggested David Jolly would be ideal and I asked Bill to ask David if he’d be interested in having me and thankfully he was!”
Fast forward to Port Augusta Cup Day 2017 and Crowther has just recorded a PB. Three winners in a day at Port Augusta, including one for her boss David. Her first for him in fact, on the $1.95 favourite Needy Rocket.
“That was by far my favourite racing moment so far. He gives me so many of my rides, so I was thrilled to ride one for him.”
“David is so good. So supportive and super with helping me. He sits down with me and goes through my rides which I really appreciate.”
She followed up that win in the first race with two more on the day, both for another of her supporters, Port Lincoln based trainer Brian Lear.
“Brian’s great. He gives me rides every time I head to Port Augusta.”
“I also rode a treble at Streaky Bay on Cup Day. I’ve had a lot of my success on the dirt but I wouldn’t say they’re my favourite tracks. I really like Balaklava, that’s my favourite.
Now that she’s notched up a treble at a TAB meeting, Crowther’s next goal is to get a provincial winner.
“I really want a provincial winner. I’m not looking too far ahead just yet, getting that first provincial winner is my goal.”
Her boss, David Jolly doesn’t think that winner will be too far away.
“She’s coming along really well. She takes a good seat on the horse and places them well.”
But while she definitely has natural talent, it’s her work off the track that will put her in good stead for the rest of her career.
“She’s a pleasure to work with and mature for her age. She’s conscientious, hardworking and has a real interest in the horses.”
“She’s really intent on improving herself. We sit down and go through some of her rides and she takes all my feedback on board. I’m very happy with her progress to date.”
With glowing reports like that from one of the state’s best trainers there is no doubt that Kayla’s rise up the ranks will be one to watch.