décembre 8, 2021

Queensland summer carnival: Samantha Collett closes in on 1000 winners

4 min read

Samantha Collett is hoping to make her mark on Queensland racing and there’s no better time to announce herself than the summer carnival.

Riding 1000 career winners may seem like an incredible feat but for jockey Samantha Collett, it simply runs in the family.

The premiership-winning hoop has made the move to Queensland from New Zealand in search of the riches that come with racing in Australia.

While she is yet to impose herself, her pedigree and statistics suggest she isn’t far off – the Queensland summer carnival may be just the place to announce herself. Collett’s father Jim and mother Trudy (Thornton) have both ridden more than 1000 winners as jockeys and after a handful of prolific seasons back home in New Zealand, she’s not too far off herself.

“My goal in life is to try and ride 1000 winners too,” Collett said.

“I’m not sure that’s really been done anywhere in the world,” she said, adding she almost has 900 to her name.

“That is something on my bucket list.”

Incredibly, her mother is still riding in New Zealand, something which gives Collett inspiration every day.

“Mum is still riding at home, it is crazy. Dad was a pretty good rider himself,” she said.

“She rides as often she can get rides, she’s in her 50s now but is at most meetings – an incredible lady.

“She started riding over fences, she was a jumps jockey and they both ended up moving through and riding internationally too which I think is pretty cool.

“I have about 110 winners to go to join them. Dad retired about 13 years ago, he rides work and trains a few now.”

On top of that, Collett’s cousins Jason and Alysha are currently carving up the riding ranks in New South Wales since arriving from New Zealand.

With parents that have been there and done it before, Collett says she is in regular contact with them about her riding to get some home truths.

“I’m talking to them all the time about my rides, dad would ring me pretty much after every race ride I have had and still does now which I think is cool,” she said.

“He’s not afraid to have a go at me when I get it wrong, they are usually pretty justified so I can’t argue back.”

Collett is the first to admit she doesn’t know too much about the summer carnival but she is well aware of the mega bucks on offer.

With a prizemoney boom throughout Australia, Collett says she made the decision to pack up her bags and make the move across the Tasman in search of a new challenge and some extra money.

“I’m chasing more money to be honest, I have a fairly big mortgage back home,” she laughed.

“It is a new challenge as well.

“I had achieved everything I really wanted to achieve at home and obviously the money is better here in Australia.

“In our job, you can’t really do it for a long time, if you’re fortunate enough you can, but for me it is one of those things where you try to make as much as you can as quick as you can – that seemed the logical move (to move to Australia).”

Despite being a premiership winner back home, Collett is well aware she was never going to be an instant hit in Queensland.

She says she has the time and patience to make it work however.

With growing support from champion trainer Tony Gollan, Collett has given herself the best chance possible of making it in the Sunshine State.

“I’ve always known it’s going to be hard to break in so I am happy at the moment and thankful for the rides I am getting,” she said.

“I approached him because I rode for him last time I was here and I thought you may as well start at the top.

“It would be great to be riding a stack of winners but I am realistic and I know it is going to take a bit to break in, I’m prepared to do those hard yards.”

With the Magic Millions picture far from complete, Collett joins the scramble of jockeys looking to find a premier two-year-old which can take them through to January 15 on the Gold Coast where $2m goes on the line in the 2YO Classic.

Originally published as Queensland summer carnival: Samantha Collett closes in on 1000 winners

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