Lifestyle

Queen of the track takes men on at their own game

Jockey Skye Bogenhuber at Clifford Park.
Jockey Skye Bogenhuber at Clifford Park.

WHOEVER still considers the racing game to be the sport of kings is yet to meet Skye Bogenhuber.

Determined and extremely talented, Skye is one woman who is shaking things up on the track and making a name for the queens of the sport.

Having recently made history as the first woman to take out a senior jockey premiership, Skye's achievements are proof that women have finally got the inside run in the world of racing and more importantly, that they can match it with the male heavyweights of the industry.

And don't be fooled by the pretty face and demure nature, Skye's immense ability is matched by her competitive drive and determination to ride every race as though it was her last.

A national cross-country runner and a potential UNSW arts graduate, it is fair to wonder why Skye chose to pursue a career as a jockey.

Skye Bogenhuber usually makes a statement on the racing track, but for Style she turned it on in the fashion stakes.
Skye Bogenhuber usually makes a statement on the racing track, but for Style she turned it on in the fashion stakes.

"I have always had a love of horses and when I was studying at UNSW I used to spend hours staring out of the window across the road to Randwick Racecourse just wishing I was there," Skye said.

"I started to give it some serious thought when I was around 19 as I felt the world of racing was a great arena in which to get my competitive fix."

Four years ago, after working as a trainee in Grafton and going on to begin her jockey apprenticeship in Brisbane, Skye relocated to Toowoomba and began to solidify her reputation in the Queensland racing scene as a force to be reckoned with.

As the wins continued to roll in, the pressure continued to mount and Skye learnt that Australia's most dangerous land-based sport was not for the faint hearted.

"You have to have thick skin in this industry; if you want to survive you have to know how to handle criticism," she said.

"It is very demanding and it takes a lot of hard

work and on top of that there is so much pressure to perform week-in-week-out that you can't afford to switch off.

"However, if you know how to handle it all and are prepared to put in the effort, you will reap the rewards."

One of these rewards, Skye believes, is the close relationships she has formed with the horses over the years.

"I get very connected to the horses.

"You work with them so often and go through so much with them that you can't help but feel like they are your pets."

And while Skye admits many a horse has stolen her heart, there is one in particular that instantly captivated her.

"I have the biggest soft spot for Temple of Boom, a horse trained by Tony Gollan.

"I have never ridden him in a race but I was lucky enough to do a little track work with him and since then I have just loved to watch him race."

A modest woman, Skye is not one to boast but now, with the title of first female jockey to win a senior premiership under her belt, I don't think anyone would hold a little "tooting of her own horn" against her.

"Winning the premiership has boosted my confidence and reinforced people's belief in me," she said.

Skye in action earlier this year.
Skye in action earlier this year. Kevin Farmer

"When it was first announced at the awards ceremony I thought I was just the first woman to win a senior premiership in Toowoomba, however later I found out I was the first in history."

With Skye's sights set on another senior premiership and plans to one day compete in Melbourne's bush racing scene, she is well aware that the hard work is not over yet, but hopes her passion for the sport, dedication and possibly the help of a few lady beetles might just get her there.

"I am not an overly superstitious person but if a lady beetle flies on me before a race, it seems to be good luck and I always manage to get a winner."

So, the next time you take to the track to cheer on Skye, along with your lippy, blush and racing tips, be sure to take a lady beetle along for the ride.

Topics:  clifford park, skye bogenhuber, style, toowoomba



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