It’s easy to understand why Petra Kobzova has a lot of affection and love for Little Red Roman, but if she needed any extra validation, she got it again when the five-year-old won at Ascot on Wednesday.
Little Red Roman not only gave Czech-born Kobzova her maiden city winner, but he was also responsible for handing the Ascot trainer with her first ever winner when he won at Northam last October.
Little Red Roman, ridden by Peter Knuckey, was sent out at $11.40 this afternoon, but defied the doubters when he ran on strongly from fourth position and held out the favourite, Star Of Bonnie Rose to win by one length.
Kobzova savoured her second milestone with glee.
“I’m shaking,” Kobzova said.
“I hope the horse is doing better than me.
“I was hoping he would run a good race.
“But’s it a big surprise.”
Kobzova, from a non-racing background, came to Australia more than a decade ago and teamed up with top 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 four 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.”
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 Andrews and a host of other 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.”