Jamie Kah embraces LONGINES IJC challenge

Jamie Kah is one of Australia’s finest jockeys. Photo: HKJC
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By Daryl Timms for HKJC

Dynamic Australian jockey Jamie Kah has no reason to feel daunted when she lines up against a glittering array of the world’s best riders in the LONGINES International Jockeys’ Championship at Happy Valley on Wednesday, 7 December.

The trail-blazing jockey achieved what no other Australian rider – male or female – had ever managed when she rode 100 metropolitan winners in the highly competitive Victorian racing jurisdiction in the 2020/21 season.

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The 26-year-old actually finished the season with 105 city victories, a haul that her contemporaries – led by the likes of Damien Oliver, Craig Williams, Jye McNeil, Damian Lane, Blake Shinn and Michelle Payne – concede will be hard to match, let alone surpass.

Having constantly ridden against the best in big races across Australia, Kah will pit her skills at Happy Valley against England’s Ryan Moore, British husband and wife riders, Tom Marquand and Hollie Doyle, fellow Melbourne jockey Jye McNeil (who is now in Hong Kong on a short term licence), Sydney-based New Zealander James McDonald, Frenchman Mickael Barzalona, Japan’s Yuga Kawada and a formidable Hong Kong line-up led by Zac Purton.

And Kah, who turns 27 on the day of the meeting, will have the perfect birthday present if she can accumulate enough points in the four international races on the program to claim the coveted championship.

Kah, who a decade ago had her first ride as a 8.8 pound claiming-apprentice at Streaky Bay – population just a little over 2,000 – on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, won three Adelaide jockey premierships before relocating in 2019 to Melbourne, where her career has been on upwards trajectory ever since.

While the South Australian and Hollie Doyle are routinely mentioned in discussions involving the title of world’s best female jockey, Kah’s steady stream of winners and being the first rider to tally a century of winners in a single Melbourne metropolitan season puts her in the top echelon and shows that her achievements aren’t gender defined.

As well as her 105 metropolitan winners, the 2020/21 season was a standout for Kah who won the G1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes on the world’s best sprinter Nature Strip. She also brought up her 1,000th career win, was awarded the Scobie Breasley Medal by a record margin as Victoria’s top jockey and was voted by her peers as the Most Valuable Jockey.

Her winning percentage for the past 12 months has been 19.9%, while her place percentage is 49.5%.

“It was a season to remember, that’s for sure,” Kah said.

“Winning the Lightning on Nature Strip would have to be the highlight and getting the 100th win was definitely the biggest relief.

“It means the world to me to win the Scobie Breasley Medal and the metro premiership, but to be voted by the other jockeys as the VJA (Victorian Jockeys’ Association) Most Valuable Jockey is something very special.”

Multiple G1-winning jockey Alf Matthews, who is Racing Victoria’s apprentice jockey coach, believes the ever consistent Kah is the perfect example for the budding jockeys he teaches.

He said one of Kah’s biggest assets is that she isn’t a “pressurising” rider.

“She is happy to be patient,” he said. “She is a very, very talented rider. There is no question about that. “For her it’s patience and poise.”

Kah hasn’t made any secret of perhaps one day stepping away from race riding to pursue a dream of representing Australia in equestrian – a feat which would make her an Australian Olympian like her parents John and Karen who were Winter Olympic speed skaters.