The thrill of race riding and the exhilaration of winning can be intoxicating for a jockey.
Conversely battles with injuries, form and opportunities can be exasperating.
Unfortunately for Kayla Cross her recent history falls into the latter category.
That’s why her win at Broome last Saturday was tinged with an added layer of personal satisfaction.
Following a 14-month injury layoff, Cross booted home a winner on the Angela Smith-trained Reucoop.
In a cool and composed ride, Cross sat behind the leaders and took the short cut home on the fence.
Cross’ name returned to the form guides for the first time since riding Corporate Larrikin at Albany in 2020.
Persistent arm problems kept Cross out of racing longer than she anticipated, but she hopes her Broome comeback victory can be the springboard for a successful season.
“My arm really got bad last March, and I found out I had compressed nerves,” Cross told The Races WA.
“I then had surgery for decompression of nerves in my forearm. It was the second surgery after compartment syndrome.
“I then had problems with insurance following the surgery and that’s why it took so long to come back.
“It was basically wear and tear through riding, but it was great to be back again on the weekend because I missed it so much.
“It made all the work to return worth it and it was a good day back.”
Born in New South Wales and based in Darwin, Cross came to Western Australia in search of further opportunities four years ago.
Reucoop gave her 207 wins from 1844 starts since she made her debut in the 2011-12 season.
Cross said her arm injury and the cancellation of the Broome season last year due to Covid-19 came as a double blow.
“I moved from Darwin two years ago and one of the reasons was for my career,” Cross said.
“Darwin only races fortnightly through the wet season and you have to get a second job and everything.
“I was trying to ride more full time and there is a lot more country circuits in WA.
“There are a lot more opportunities here to be a jockey.
“It hasn’t been the easiest road but there is always a positive side in racing.”