Chanelle O’Grady can’t recall the seminal moment, but privately she knew it had been building. The pressure was mounting and taking its toll. Life as a jockey no longer held any appeal.
“It just go too much and I lost all my motivation,” O’Grady said.
“The early mornings, the travelling and the constant battle weight battle took a toll.
“I just got so sick of everything and needed time out to clear my head.
“It’s a good lifestyle but there are plenty of ups and downs.
“The pressure and the injuries can make it all encompassing.
“I needed to go away and recharge my batteries and find motivation again.”
O’Grady commenced her apprenticeship in 2008 and represented Western Australia on two occasions in the National Apprentice series.
She bowed out of racing after winning on Bellaxena at Moora two years ago.
Her search for simplicity and meaning took her to Europe for a four week stay that helped her reassess, reset and invigorate her life.
She returned home and spent a semester studying nursing at university, but the lure of racing and thrill of riding soon re-emerged.
O’Grady had swapped the text books for the saddle once again.
“I just got the itch again and started back riding track work.
“I don’t think racing ever leaves you, it’s in your blood.
“I didn’t really have a plan on how long I would be away.
“But it did reignite my passion for working with horses.
“Either way I was going to restart my jockey career or stick to being a track work rider.”
O’Grady chose the former but her resolve was tested early.
“I broke my leg at track work,” O’Grady said.
“It set me back and is still causing some concern.
“I may require another operation but at the moment it’s holding up ok.”
After nearly a two year absence O’Grady made a low key return to competitive riding at Norseman in March, but as the temperatures plummet in Perth and racing takes on a wintry feel, the 26-year-old will escape the chill and head north to make her mark in Broome.
“I rode in Broome as an apprentice and I always wanted to come back,” O’Grady said.
“I will base myself here for the season and it’s a nice way to spend the winter.
“At the moment I can’t complain and it’s a great atmosphere.”
Blue skies, sunny days, warmer weather, a delicious recipe for a revitalised jockey to launch the second phase of her career.
A major boost for O’Grady is teaming up with, Dave Casey, a Broome stalwart who knocks up training winners on a regular basis each season.
O’Grady and Casey combine with Cherabin (race 1), Danish Moment (race two), Duke Of Downs (race three), So Fly (race five) and Singing To Win (race six).
O’Grady, who is looking forward to kick starting the opening meeting of the Broome season with a bang, will also partner Oneofus (race four) for, Darryn Pateman.
“I think they all have chances and I can’t rule any of them out,” O’Grady said.
“I’m just excited to be riding and can’t wait to get started.”
RWWA: Julio Santarelli