From the dusty Hay Plains to the Hunter Valley, a passion for horses has seen Megan Taylor end up on a racetrack.
The apprentice jockey first took the reins, almost by chance, in 2012.
“I didn’t plan on working in the thoroughbred industry but growing up I loved horses and cows so I knew I’d end up doing something with one of them,” Megan said.
Megan had been working in the Hunter Valley at a thoroughbred stud when she was looking for a change and got the chance to work as a stable hand in Wagga in 2011.
Her passion for horses saw her jump at the opportunity and within a year she started her apprenticeship as a jockey.
Megan didn’t ride as a child and no one else in her family is interested in horses so her career choice came as a slight shock.
“I always had a passion for horses and I never knew where it came from,” she said.
“I’ve just fallen into it.”
After moving around between a few stables she settled in Tumut two years ago, working for trainer Kerry Weir.
March was a great month for Megan with an impressive eight wins around the region.
She took out fi ve races at Carrathool before another win two days later at the Murrumbidgee Turf Club (MTC) followed by a win in Berrigan and another in Albury.
“I’m enjoying the wins while I can. You’ve got to appreciate the win and then concentrate on your next ride,” Megan said.
“There are lots of ups and downs in the industry, generally more downs then ups.”
The taste of victory has made the 5am starts a little more bearable.
“The wins help with all the hard work. I ride everyday, rain, hail or shine,” she said.
On race day, Megan gives her horses every chance for a win by preparing thoroughly.
“I go over the form and see what horses I’m up against and try to work out where my horse is best suited,” she said.
“If I’m on a horse that likes to lead I see if there will be pace in the race and see if the horse will be able to lead.
“You try and prepare yourself as best you can but you can have all the plans in the world and once the gates open they can all go out the window.”
Megan is hoping for a ride in this year’s Wagga Gold Cup Carnival but said nothing is set in stone.
“You always plan for the races but never know what can happen between now and then, horses can hurt themselves,” she said.
With less than a year left of her apprenticeship, Megan isn’t sure where her qualification will take her but she is enjoying the ride.
“It’s a good fun sport, it’s not just a hobby. It’s a career and it's a great industry to be part of.”
Megan said the industry is becoming less male-dominated with “more and more girls starting every month.”
“Some days the girls will match the boys and people are becoming more open to having girls ride their horses,” she said.
“It’s like everything else, us girls are slowly overtaking the guys,” Megan Joked.
See the complete official Gold Cup guide here. Copies of the guide are available at the Daily Advertiser office at 48 Trail Street and will be available at both the Town Plate and Gold Cup.