Michelle Hagley completed a unique achievement in WA racing on the weekend, vindicating her decision to take on a new role.
Hagley, who holds both a jockey and trainer’s license, rode four-year-old gelding Big Blows to victory at Broome last Saturday.
Big Blows gave Hagley her first victory as a trainer after she began a new chapter in her racing career at Esperance in March.
Adding lustre to an already memorable day for Hagley was knowing her mum held a share of ownership in the son of Big Brown.
She said her milestone victory was a mixture of relief and excitement.
“It was an awesome feeling and also a relief to get that first winner out of the way,” Hagley told The Races WA.
“The relief came also because the horse has had such a history of feet problems and he put in a shocker at Mount Barker.
“It was also good to have the support of my mum who wasn’t there at the races as she was working at Derby.
“I’ve put her into a few winning horses, so I would hate to think what she will say if she gets a slow one (laughs).
“It’s all a bit of family fun and she has always supported me.”
Hagley hails from Victoria and has been a popular member of the Broome racing scene for the past three seasons.
She had her first ride at Albury in 1999 before being bitten by the travel bug and travelling overseas.
She returned to Warrnambool as a jumps jockey in 2009 and had another extended break from racing to raise her two children, son Blake and daughter Charlee.
It was during that period that Hagley, with a possible eye to the future, enrolled in TAFE and completed a Certificate 111 in Education and Care.
Hagley admitted the thought of becoming a trainer was not something she had given much thought to until a change of heart a few years.
“I always said I never would get into training,” Hagley said.
“It’s only the last few years that I have become interested.
“I tried to get out of it, but it’s in your blood I think.
“I’ve worked with a lot of trainers in Melbourne and overseas and have absorbed plenty of information.
“Being a jockey and a trainer also covers bases financially, but I have a few years to decide if it’s something I want to do.
“I have time to tinker with the idea of going in one direction or another.”
Hagley is making a good fist of her training transition. Aside from Big Blows she has finished third on two occasions with Emjye in Broome.
She says there are a lot of positives she can bring to her dual roles.
“As a jockey I can bring new things to the table and have an impact,” Hagley says.
“I’m not just a track rider and I can have more input.
“It’s hands on and it seems to work.”