Jerilderie jockey Brooke Sweeney has been an absolute star since bursting onto the racing scene as an apprentice in 2012.
The 23 year-old has been around horses all her life with her father, Phil, one the region’s leading trainers and her uncle Ken a Group 1 winning trainer in Adelaide.
‘‘I enjoy the racing for my love of horses,’’ Brooke said.
‘‘I grew up with horses and they’ve been around me my whole life.’’
Sweeney started her jockey apprenticeship in January 2012 and has won over 140 races during her career, with her first win at Balranald on Microchip Lad.
Her apprenticeship was spent with several different stables including trainers Troy and Leon Corstens.
She said her time with the Corstens provided great insight into the racing industry.
‘‘I learnt so much from Leon. He was taught a lot of his skills from Bart Cummings and passed those on to me.
‘‘Although I didn’t have much success with them, I still took a lot away from my experience.’’
Sweeney said her biggest highlight was a third place in the $500,000 Country Championship Final at Randwick in early April this year.
She rode O’ So Hazy to finish just behind 2016 Melbourne Cup winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy and ahead of 2017 winner Corey Brown.
‘‘It was such an amazing experience to be at Randwick on such a big day on the racing calender.
‘‘Talking to people like Corey and Kerrin and learning from them is something I really value.’’
Sweeney led throughout the race and despite riding a longshot paying $41 she was able to fight off the challengers to finish third.
Other highlights have included winning races at Flemington, Sandown and the 2016 Echuca Cup.
Sweeney’s favourite track is Moonee Valley as it suits her riding preference of racing with a fast pace.
However, she said the Jerilderie Cup is one of the first meetings she ensures she can race at each year.