Friday, September 17

Star jockey makes Victorian racing history


Jamie Kah celebrates her record-breaking 100th winner after returning to scale on Deep Speed at Caulfield. Picture: Racing Photos via Getty Images
Jamie Kah celebrates her record-breaking 100th winner after returning to scale on Deep Speed at Caulfield. Picture: Racing Photos via Getty Images
Jamie Kah celebrates after her record 100th winner of the season. Picture: Racing Photos via Getty Images
Jamie Kah celebrates after her record 100th winner of the season. Picture: Racing Photos via Getty Images

Centurion Jamie Kah is the new benchmark in Victorian racing.

Incredibly after surpassing Brett Prebble’s highwater metropolitan mark, 99½ winners set in 1999-00, with five city meetings to spare, the 25-year-old will only continue to rewrite history.

It was the R-word Kah could not get out quick enough after she returned to the mounting yard at Caulfield triumphant aboard Deep Speed in race 2 on Saturday.

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No, not the “record”, not initially anyway, but “relief”.

A “big relief” as Kah, finally able to exhale at the culmination of her season-long quest, said.

Kah’s unimaginably dominant and unparalleled consistent season, started 336 days ago with a double at Flemington on August 8, before the South Australian riding ace cracked the ton.

She finished with a double after winning on Red Santa in race 6 to move to 101 winners.

“It’s been a very, very long week,” Kah said, a nod to going without a win at Sandown last Wednesday.

“I’ve had some really good people around me getting me through it.

“I’ve gone to the races with a better book of rides and not got a winner but the pressure afterwards was ridiculous in my mind. I couldn’t really believe it.

“I thought I had a good book of rides today and it was going to be a pretty bad day if I didn’t get it.”

Jamie Kah, aboard Deep Speed, holds off the chasing pack on her way to 100 city winners. Picture: Tony Gough
Jamie Kah, aboard Deep Speed, holds off the chasing pack on her way to 100 city winners. Picture: Tony Gough

Fortunately the coronation at Caulfield needed only two races, with an all-the-way win aboard Deep Speed.

“I was hearing the crowd and getting goosebumps over the line,” Kah said.

A crowd of up to 5000 was on hand for the historic moment – but not Kah’s family.

“I told them not to come,” the superstitious jockey said.

“I didn’t want them to jinx me.”

Nervous anticipation turned into jubilation in the last 50m as Deep Speed held out the fast-finishing All Of Brighton and Sacred Palace.

“I’m not the one for crowds and people cheering my name, it’s very foreign to me still,” Kah said.

Fitting, too, co-trainers Tony and Calvin McEvoy supplied the milestone horse.

Jamie Kah acknowledges the fans after her historic feat. Picture: Racing Photos via Getty Images
Jamie Kah acknowledges the fans after her historic feat. Picture: Racing Photos via Getty Images

While Kah got her racing education as an apprentice from South Australian trainer and former boss John Macmillan, the McEvoys had the horsepower to help propel her to three state premierships.

“They’ve been such big supporters of my career,“ Kah said.

“We’ve had lots of arguments and disagreements on the way through but they’ve supported me from day one and to get it on their horse is very special.”

Kah’s “go-to” jockey association with the McEvoys ended in late 2018 – a precursor to her move to Melbourne where she has become the city’s most sought-after jockey.

Despite riding only seldomly for the dual-state the father-son team, the combination has maintained a brilliant 27.3 per cent strike rate winners to runners.

Calvin McEvoy hailed Kah for conquering Melbourne riding ranks.

“Riding winners off peak in South Australia, she’d normally sit third the fence and find a run and we thought we were going good, maybe that (Kah) was the reason,” McEvoy said.

“Fitting she’s a South Australian girl that started over there and came over here and conquered it.

“We knew she was good, she came over and won a Group 1 (Australian Cup) early on. I think that was pretty important … since then she‘s gone from strength to strength.

“I think now, riding in bigger races everyone is noticing that she is good, it‘s not just the horse.”

Former record-holder Prebble, who also rode a winner at Caulfield, was thrilled for Kah.

“I’m glad it has happened for her,” Prebble said.

“There was a lot of pressure on her and she’s only young. She’s got a lot on her shoulders.

“Now she can go back out and just doing what she does well – riding winners.”

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