Facing the first day of a new job can be a daunting and confronting experience for anyone.
You could argue even more so for a newcomer to Australia who held scant experience in the field she was entering into.
That’s what faced Czech-born Petra Kobzova more than a decade ago when she joined ranks with top local trainer, Trevor Andrews.
Kobzova was hoping for a smooth transition to stable life, but despite her best intentions her introduction to Perth racing got off to a shaky start.
“I had only been in Australia for a short time and saw an advertisement in the paper that said there was work going at Trevor’s stable,” Kobzova said.
“I was excited to get the job and was told by Trevor to be at the stables and meet him the following day at four.
“In my mind I thought that mean four in the afternoon, because I couldn’t imagine anyone waking up at that hour.
“From my experience and background no one would consider working and starting at that time.
“When I got there at 4 in the afternoon I naturally couldn’t find Trevor who I understood was not too happy.
“I was the first one there in the afternoon, but unfortunately I wasn’t there when I should have been in the morning.
“Trevor can be quite strict and thought that perhaps I had walked out on the job before I even started.
“We sorted it all out and he told me not to worry, but I was there at the right time the following morning.
“It’s funny looking back, but I’m grateful to him for giving me my first chance.”
11 years since that auspicious meeting with Andrews and five years after taking out her trainer’s license, Kobzova is well and truly ensconced as a member of Western Australian racing.
Her position was validated at Northam on Wednesday when she celebrated her maiden victory after chestnut gelding Little Roman won the #Visit Northam Maiden (1100m).
“I’m just so happy,” Kobzova said.
“It was amazing and a real surprise.
“I’ve had a number of placings before, but to win was awesome.”
Kobzova doesn’t fit your normal racing profile. She was born in the Czech Republic, a nation not noted as a top international racing jurisdiction, studied at University, holds no family background in racing and has extensively travelled the world.
It was that wanderlust that led her to Perth.
“I left home when I was 18 and wanted to travel the world and get away from a strict communist upbringing in the Czech Republic,” Kobzova said.
“I travelled to Germany, England, America and New Zealand.
“Australia and Africa were the last places I hadn’t been too.
“I didn’t want to go to Africa and Australia was on my bucket list.
“I had no background in racing but loved to be around horses.
“I had social experience in show jumping and dressage.”
After broadening her racing knowledge and experience with accomplished Perth horseman including the late Rod Bynder, Joe Byrne, George Daly and Stan Bates, Kobzova said she was committed to WA racing.
“I am a permanent Australian resident and will be applying for my citizenship,” Kobzova said.
“I don’t think I could ever go back home again.
“My family don’t really know what I do and it’s too hard to explain.
“I don’t think I could go back.”