Broome racing kicks off this weekend and someone who is determined to have an impact during the season is jockey, Kate Southam.
For the first time in her career, Southam will make Broome her base for the winter, a move that didn’t require a lot of convincing.
Dodging a dreary Perth winter and chasing the sun in one of the world’s iconic destinations was pretty much a no brainer for the former apprentice.
Relocating to Broome for a few months seems the perfect combination of work and pleasure, but for Southam, there is also a serious element attached to her decision.
Southam’s career is at the crossroads, a battle with weight and a lack of city opportunities has driven down her motivation in recent times.
She’s hopeful of winning that mind battle and believes a stint in Broome is not only the perfect vehicle to reinvigorate her racing passion, but will also offer her riding career a lifeline.
“I want to enjoy racing again,” Southam told The Races WA.
“I kind of had a negative spin to racing after not reaching personal goals as an apprentice.
“I want to find the love that I used to have for racing.
“I felt I wasn’t getting anywhere or achieving what I wanted to.
“My best friends who are in racing are all in Broome, including Jess (Gray).
“She has been a huge supporter of mine and is my bestie.
“I just needed to get away from city racing and find the heart of country racing.”
With the backing of leading trainers, including, Darryn Pateman, Southam thinks she can hit Saturday’s Broome program on a high.
Pateman, based at Karnup, is affectionately known as the “King Of Country Racing” and has been a constant visitor to Broome and north-west tracks with his large team of horses.
He’s chalked up more than 400 winners in nearly four decades of racing and considers Broome as one of his favourite country venues.
“I’m freelancing, but will mainly ride for Darryn and working side by side with Jess (Gray),” Southam said.
“She’s obviously the first stringer and I know that and it’s fine.
“I’m good friends with Luke Morton and Bruce Kay is always lovely to me.
“I’ll ride work and if the opportunities are there I will take them.
“At this stage I’ve already got five rides booked for the weekend.”
Southam is negotiating the tricky path as senior jockey, having come out of her apprenticeship just recently.
It’s a shift that many junior riders can find difficult, but Southam wants to ensure her transition is as seamless as possible.
Disappointed she didn’t reach personal targets as an apprentice, the 27-year-old has a few aims in mind for Broome.
“I would really like to go leading rider,” Southam said.
“It’s a different kettle of fish up against the seniors.
“It’s not a goal as I don’t know how achievable it is, but the cups are always goals.
“I haven’t ridden in the Broome Cup yet, so that would be good.
“The staying races I enjoy the most.”