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Brooke following in Mum's footsteps

When you live a stone’s throw from the Strathalbyn Racecourse and have the pedigree that Brooke King has, it's little wonder that she’s the youngest trackwork rider in the state.

The 15-year-old daughter of former jockey Raygan Koch (nee Rayner) has been eager to get involved in the family business “Koch Racing” for as long as she can remember. 

“I’ve been riding for about a year now. It was kind of a 14th birthday present,” Brooke said.

“So it’s been really good the past year and I’m looking forward to many more years.”

Brooke’s heard plenty of stories about what a good rider her mum was.

Raygan was crowned the Dux of the Apprentice Academy SA in 1998, and won a treble for Peter Hayes at Victoria Park in December of that year.

She retired in early 2002 after hurting her back in a fall at Port Lincoln. Sadly, the DVDs she kept of her career have been misplaced so Brooke hasn’t watched much of her mum race, but she’s seen enough to know that she wants to be just like her.

“I would like to follow in my mum’s footsteps. She is a good rider and great person in general so it would be good to be like her,” Brooke said.

“I’d like to try to (be a jockey) but kind of interested in a bit of everything. In and outside the racing industry so it’ll be good to see where that goes.”

Proud mum Raygan is also a regular at trackwork, riding three-year-old rising star Philonize for her trainer husband Dion, and loves seeing her daughter so happy.

“To start with it was very nerve racking the first few times she went out on the track," Raygan said.

To hear her wanting to follow in my footsteps I’m proud and nervous all in one. So it’ll be challenging if she gets that far and wants to continue and be a jockey.”

“I ride Philonize in trackwork when she is in work along with a couple of our other horses – also another young one called Brazano - which hasn’t raced yet.

“I try and limit myself to only two or three a morning to try and take a step back and let the younger generation take over. It’s interesting and weird, I still like riding so much it’s hard to take that step back, but I'm slowly getting there.”

Brooke, who’s about to start year 10 at Eastern Fleurieu School in Strathalbyn, loves the variety that each day brings in the industry, and proving to the doubters that age is no barrier.  

She’s at the track by 5.30am five mornings a week.

“It’s a bit of a challenge being the youngest out there and you just kind of feel like you’re alone sometimes, but you’ve always got other people to look up to and that’s really good,” Brooke said.

“(I love) just going out trying to be the best at the end of the day and proving a point and going fast.”

The tight-knit racing community has also helped ease her mum’s mind.

“Everyone is quite helpful and supportive here in Strath. Everyone looks out for her for me when she’s out on the track so it’s good.

"I’m very proud of her, she is doing a fantastic job and I love seeing her out riding and happy and enjoying everything she does.”

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