AMY Herrmann’s sense of tradition will see her break new ground in today’s $100,000 Sovereign Resort Galleywood Hurdle.
The 26-year-old, who grew up in Hamilton, becomes the first female jockey to ride in the Galleywood’s 19-year history when she boards Dumosa.
Herrmann is a rare commodity in racing. The Adelaide-based jockey rides on the flat and over obstacles.
While riding on the flat is her main focus, jumps racing is more than just a hobby.
With her uncle Geoff Herrmann a successful jumps jockey who rode in the carnival’s showpiece, the Grand Annual Steeplechase in the 1970s, Herrmann said jumps riding was in her blood. She remembers watching the jumps races at the carnival as a child before relocating to South Australia at 16 when trainer Michael O’Leary left Hamilton.
“I just like the thrill,” she said. “In the last couple of years in South Australia there have been no jumps jockeys and I really felt for the trainers. They had no way of educating or schooling their horses unless they got someone over from Victoria and they had to pay for the cost of the travel. I thought I would help out.” She started off assisting trainers.
She is in her second season of jumps riding, having started at Oakbank last year.
“I’ve really enjoyed it.”
She rides largely for Oakbank trainer Barry Brook and three times a week heads to the Adelaide Hills to ride trackwork for him and his jumpers. Herrmann has had less than 20 jumps rides, preferring to stay in South Australia. But she said she was looking to travel across the border more this season if rides came her way.
Getting to the barrier today is a win for Herrmann. On Monday her carnival plans were thrown into doubt after a trial accident at Gawler. She was behind the starting gates when another horse reared back on to her mount. Her horse flipped over. She was taken to hospital and cleared of any injuries but she had to pass a concussion test last night to be given the all-clear for today. Herrmann said today’s Galleywood start on Dumosa was a thrill. “We’re down on the minimum of 64, that is going to be a plus for us,” she said.
The field for the Galleywood might only feature seven runners but it’s loaded with quality.
The Darren Weir-trained Gotta Take Care is the top-weight with 69 kilograms and is expected to start favourite ahead of stablemate, the JJ Houlahan Hurdle winner and Australian Steeplechase winner from last year Maythehorsebemagic. But with Warrnambool jockey Brad McLean on board, the parochial money will be on him.