Over the past few years, Kayla Nisbet hasn’t always been sure the life of a jockey was the one she wanted.
But the thrill of riding a winner at Randwick on Saturday reinforced her belief she had chosen the right path.
Nisbet brought up her claim-reducing 20th metropolitan victory on Atom Eve for Canberra neighbour, trainer Norm Gardner.
Unbeaten in three starts, the filly’s latest win as the $2.70 favourite in the Highway Handicap (1200m) against older horses has presented Gardner with a few scheduling problems.
“We’ll look at the Country Championships but there’s also the Canberra Guineas Prelude and the Canberra Guineas,” Gardner said.
“But I think she might be all right.
“There is so much upside to her and Kayla rides her so well.
“She has done a lot of work with her since she was a young horse.”
With her Randwick win, Nisbet’s claim is reduced from 3kg to 2kg, something she didn’t think would happen 18 months ago when disillusion took over from desire.
Nisbet left the David Hayes stable in Victoria and went home to Canberra.
“I took time off because it was hard to maintain my weight and it was getting harder,” Nisbet said.
“I’ve got it under control now by eating properly and going to the gym and doing the right things so it’s easier.”
No sooner was her weight under control and she was back riding winners, Nisbet broke her tibia in a mounting yard fall in April last year.
Instead of dampening her enthusiasm, the extra time out fuelled her passion to get back where she belonged.
“I’m loving it now and riding a filly like this helps,” she said.
The win wasn’t all smooth sailing with Nisbet called into the stewards’ room after the race to explain her use of the whip.
She admitted she had used it a few more times than allowed but because it was a first offence, she got off with a reprimand.