Alana Kelly with her parents Daniel and Michelle Kelly at the Apprentice Jockeys Induction at Racing Victoria
Only eight months since her induction into the Racing Victoria Jockey Apprentice Program, first year apprentice Alana Kelly will make her debut in the race saddle at Manangatang tomorrow, Saturday 13 October, when she rides Josiah in the opening race.
The 19-year-old was always destined for a career in the industry with racing well in truly in her blood. Her father Daniel is a former jockey who has been a trainer in Ballarat for the past 13 years and Daniel’s uncle Dave Kelly was a leading rider in South Australia.
“Dad was originally a jockey, then he got too heavy and went into training so I’ve grown up around horses and the industry all my life,” Kelly said.
“I worked my way through pony club and moved into track work which I started to enjoy more and more. Once I started riding in trials I was still loving it so decided to enter the apprentice program.
“The program has been amazing so far, the coaches are very helpful and it has been great to learn about other aspects of the industry such as the media, equine welfare and the veterinary side of things.”
Kelly is very familiar with Josiah, who she rides in track work most mornings and is trained by her father Daniel. The three-year-old gelding has had two starts so far and will be searching for his maiden win alongside Alana on Saturday.
Now eight months into the program and on the eve of her first ride Kelly is still developing her craft and is keen to learn from her fellow jockeys.
“I’ve never really aspired to be one jockey in particular, you take bits and pieces from different people.
“Obviously, you ride with a range of different jockeys who are able to give you tips along the way, however you still want to adapt and make sure you are establishing your own style of riding.
“Off the back of Saturday’s race I want to get myself going, secure a few more rides and hopefully one day make a name for myself in the industry.”