Melbourne’s 2020-2021 premiership heroine Jamie Kah (Photo: Ross Stanley)

Gunsynd's Gossip

July 24, 2021

On July 31, 25-year-old Jamie Kah will officially become Melbourne’s premier jockey for the 2020-21 season.

With only a couple of meetings remaining, her tally of 103 wins has already set a new benchmark for the Victorian capital.

Turf veterans can vividly remember the roadblocks faced in the 1970s by female riders in their quest for gender equality.

The doggedly persistent Pam O’Neill was the vanguard’s Queensland leader.

The powers that be resisted strongly and the opportunity (some would say right) to compete in open company against the males was perennially denied until 1979.

Ironically, Pam’s early outing in race day silk was in the 1960s.

She made an appearance at the Brisbane Show aboard Prunda and it was somewhat symbolic – the bay gelding was an idol that was admired for his gameness, tough constitution and never say die frame of mind.

Pan II’s son prevailed in features from 1963 to 1969.

O’Neill silenced the critics by picking up trebles at her first two days against the men at the Gold Coast.

Before the breakthrough, the pioneering group rode against each other.

In the main it was the country clubs that hosted all female contests.

Kingaroy-based sisters Glenda and Margaret Freeman were both successful in the South Burnett on the iconic warrior Mick’s Luck, a prolific winner that Glenda trained late in his epic career.

Glenda (now Richardson), a worthy participant in international company in the Dame Merlyn Myer for the ladies at Eagle Farm, went on to become a respected and successful full time trainer.

Her former husband Trevor Richardson was a jockey as was their son Brad, the outstanding apprentice who booted home the pin up sprinter Chief de Beers at Doomben.

Brad’s brother Lionel also dabbled in training for a while.

Of course, Glenn Richardson and his wife Hannah (nee English) are a currently a formidable, multiple premiership winning trainer-jockey team.

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Pam O’Neill in race day silks on Prunda at the Brisbane Show in the early 1960s (Courtesy: O’Neill Collection)

Kah’s Journey

Jamie Kah’s progress has been phenomenal – her Melbourne prizemoney tally for the racing year will be around the $12 million mark.

Jamie’s 514 city mounts have produced a 103-67-67 form line, which is remarkable considering that last season she was eighth on the ladder with 35 wins.

Kah made her debut in March 2012 on the dirt in South Australia at Streaky Bay, a town that was the original stamping ground of the triple Melbourne Cup winning hoop Kerrin McEvoy.

She recorded her initial first placing at Clare about a fortnight later, and the 16 year-old’s first full season in 2013-14 saw her top the Adelaide jockeys table.

Clare Lindop had been the “lamplighter” for the ladies when she chalked up the first of her three Adelaide premierships in 2004-05.

Jamie’s parents John Kah and Karen Gardiner-Kah were both speed skaters at Olympics and World Championships.

Her mother, well experienced in the difficulties encountered in high level sport, did not want her daughter to head along that pathway.

But her resistance did not last long when the girl who cut her teeth on little ponies at the Mount Pleasant District Pony Club (outside Adelaide) and represented Australia at the 2010 Pony Club Mounted Games in England kicked off an apprenticeship with John Macmillan in 2011.

After winning that first title, Kah took time off and went abroad after the tragic death of jockey and friend Caitlin Forrest at Murray Bridge in October 2014.

Among her ports of call was a Netherlands riding school and the English stables of Sir Michael Stoute and Jeremy Gask.

On her return, Jamie bounced back quickly to emphatically earn the 2016/17 South Australian Jockeys premiership along with the city, provincial and country honours.

In January 2019, Kah made Melbourne her professional base.

As early as March, she claimed her first Group One with Harlem’s Australian Cup triumph.

She has since added the VRC Lightning Stakes (Nature Strip), MRC Toorak Handicap (Mr Quickie), ATC Doncaster (Cascadian), MVRC Makybe Diva Stakes (Gatting) and the BRC Kingsford Smith Cup (Vega One).

Watch out if Kah rides a descendant of Bradbury’s Luck, the well named colt by Redoute’s Choice from Skating.

The grey was named for Steven Bradbury, a close friend and team mate of John Kah.

He clinched gold in the 2002 Winter Olympics when he came from behind when his rivals hit the ice.

Bradbury himself has played a role in racing. In 2006 he was the Queensland Turf Club’s Winter Carnival Ambassador.

Bradbury’s Luck’s progeny included the Perth champion Luckygray, Ringa Ringa Rosie, All Fall Down and Lifting Me Higher.

Glenda Freeman (now Richardson) preparing to compete at Seymour in 1973 (Courier Mail: 21 April)

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Don’t Miss Out!

Take a tip: make the most of the chance to see live racing by attending upcoming programs in the South Burnett.

Given the fragile nature of events around the nation because of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is unwise to take social opportunities for granted.

Plans can turn around on a sixpence.

The replacement for Wondai’s washout early this month is on Saturday, July 31.

It is the Duff Memorial day with family members sponsoring races to honour Lewis, Kevin, Stephanie and Neal Duff.

Other chief backers are Wondai’s IGA Supermarket, Harleys Heavy Diesel, Raffin Electrical Contractors and well-regarded Wondai accountants Hobbs and Associates .

Trainers are reminded that lucrative QTIS bonuses apply to the Maiden Plate (850m), and patrons will recall that Black and White is the fashion theme.

Saturday, August 7 is XXXX Nanango Cup day.

The main event, with a purse of $10,000, is for the metric mile handicappers, while the Maiden Plate (1200m) is a QTIS event.

There will also be memorial races for Nanango Race Club legends John Lee and Colin Ryan, and the National Jockeys Celebration day will be marked.

Sponsors for the card include Nanango’s Heritage Bank, the PCA Social Club and the Star Motel.

Anderssons Fruit Market for quality fruits and vegetables


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