SET TO RACE: Tracey O’Hara on Alandy Lad after winning race 3 at Callaghan Park on Caulfield Cup day.
SET TO RACE: Tracey O’Hara on Alandy Lad after winning race 3 at Callaghan Park on Caulfield Cup day. Chris Ison

Love of sport spurs rider into routine of racing in CQ

IN A profession that is tougher than most people assume, Tracy O'Hara is a jockey simply because she loves riding horses and the opportunity presented itself.

O'Hara, originally from Goulbourn and then Dubbo in New South Wales, made the move north to base herself in Rockhampton, where she fell in love with the warmer weather and never looked back.

She has settled into the routine and travel of racing in the Central Queensland region, and makes the trip down to Gladstone for many of its race meetings, including today.

"I try to get to everywhere I can; I go wherever I am getting a ride," she said.

O'Hara is the sister of established Sydney jockey Kathy O'Hara, but she seems to prefer the slower pace of country racing and dabbles in the metropolitan meetings only occasionally.

"I have been down there a bit in the last year; I rode a winner down in Brisbane, but I like the main tracks around Central Queensland," she said.

While the well-travelled jockey has a lot of experience in many different places, she also possesses the personality to rebound from adversity.

A truck-load of injuries at just 28 years old has hardened O'Hara along the way.

"I have had heaps - my nose, my heel, my ankle. The main one up here was my pelvis," she said.

"My body has recovered very well so I am happy to ride."

While she has not found loads of success on the sand of Gladstone, O'Hara does not believe the surface is a limiting factor to her finding more wins.

Only time will tell whether her fortunes turn around on the winners list.

The same can be said for the future of female jockeys - O'Hara is in a generation that has seen an ever-increasing number of women in the saddle.

"They are forever growing in numbers; the weight is a major issue, and females seem to be more into horses, so that could help," she said.