By Ray Hickson
As one of the newest additions to the tough Sydney riding ranks, Group 1 winning jockey Katelyn Mallyon knows she’s starting closer to the bottom than the top but she’s happy to earn the steps she takes up the ladder.
The 23-year-old moved to Sydney last month in preparation for her partner James McDonald’s return to riding in May and has attracted instant support from several Randwick based trainers.
Mallyon, who posted her first Group 1 success on Silent Sedition in last year’s William Reid Stakes, says she’s settled into Sydney well but knows it’s going to take time to be a regular in the metro area.
“It’s a nice lifestyle and I’m enjoying riding here, and it’s nice to get a couple of winners,’’ Mallyon said.
“It’s nice to get the opportunities from Gai, John O’Shea and John Sargent, they’ve given me some fast ones.
“I don’t look at it like (starting at the bottom). I’m happy to be getting the support I’m getting wherever I’m going. I’m happy to build up, however long it takes me, work hard and get more opportunities.’’
Mallyon is particularly excited about partnering the O’Shea-trained Buckle Up after they combined for an impressive debut win at Wyong last month where he ran easily the best last 600m of 34.94 (Punters Intel).
Buckle Up has accepted for both the E-Group Security Handicap (1250m) at Canterbury on Friday night and the Railcon Handicap (1200m) at Kembla Grange on Saturday.
“He’s a lovely horse, very progressive and I’m looking forward to riding him again,’’ she said.
“I’ve been galloping him and he’s a very casual horse. He’s very progressive but casual so we weren’t sure what to expect from his first start.
“But he did everything so right, began and put himself right on speed and was far too good.
“The level he could get to we aren’t quite sure but hopefully he keeps improving and ends up being a smart horse.’’
The three-year-old is a half-brother to Group 1 winner Hucklebuck.
Buckle Up will venture to Kembla Grange, where Mallyon has a full book of eight rides, but the jockey is confident she could post her first Sydney win in six years on Friday night.
That win, her only ride at Canterbury to date, was on the Tim Martin-trained Spot The Rock on April 13 in 2012.
She’ll partner Hurricane Harbour, a $4.60 chance with TAB, in the Lindsay Murphy 40th Anniversary Handicap (1900m) following a close third at Warwick Farm on Australia Day.
“The race didn’t work out for us that well, stopping and starting, and he’s probably a momentum horse,’’ Mallyon said.
“I thought he was game in defeat having to cart the field up. Dropping in distance probably suits him, I’m not sure if he does stay the 2200m but I know he will run a strong 1900m.’’
Aside from wanting to break into the metropolitan ranks in Sydney, Mallyon does have a distinct aim of not only winning a race at one of Sydney’s premier tracks but claiming a ‘big one’.
“I haven’t ridden a winner at Randwick or Rosehill, I won one at Canterbury in an apprentice race ages ago, so it’d be lovely to knock that off the bucket list,’’ she said.
“Usually wherever I’ve gone I’ve had success.’’