Six weeks ago, apprentice Kate Witten considered her racing career to be over. She had lost interest. She had enough. She wanted out.
The girl who successfully pursued her dream of becoming a jockey, felt she had no choice but to step away from the riding ranks.
With her career at the crossroads, Witten accepted advice from her father and joined one of Australia’s most successful stables.
Trainer Robert Witten believed that being in a different place and around different people would help his daughter’s motivation.
That change of scenery led Witten to head east and link up with the famed Lindsey Park stables outside of Euroa in Melbourne.
It was an opportunity she had to pass up a couple of years ago when a knee injury sidelined her for close to a year.
After booting home Tommi Toocan at Bunbury in March, Witten rode track work for David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig.
For Witten the move paid off. Her involvement at the centre piece of Australian racing was the inspiration she sought.
After a month and a half under the guidance of the Hayes and Dabernig team, Witten fell in love with racing again.
“To be honest I was lost and was determined I wasn’t coming home,” Witten said.
“But about half way through I knew I wanted to be a jockey again.
“Being over there taught me so much and in particular about myself.
“I knew I had the dedication to get back into it when I came home.
“The whole experience was a great learning curve.”
Witten, who has ridden 22 winners this season, returns to ride at Kalgoorlie on Saturday.
She partners Gibraltar’s Street, Witchy Ways, Production, Rio Flyer, The Cruel Sea and Purist.
The Peter Fernie-trained, The Cruel Sea, a last-start winner on Anzac Day, looks her best mount in the Goldfields Electrical Contracting Handicap (1400m).
“I was going to come back in the city, but I think riding in Kalgoorlie is the best way,” Witten said.
“I’m looking forward to getting on The Cruel Sea who won well.”
RWWA: Julio Santarelli