Jockey is full of Hope

Seymour Telegraph - - NEWS - By Ali­son O’Connor

It’s been a long road to re­cov­ery for Sey­mour based ap­pren­tice jockey Tahlia Hope, but the 19-year-old is look­ing at the Spring Rac­ing Car­ni­val with a re­newed sense of op­ti­mism.

Ms Hope, the daugh­ter and grand­daugh­ter of Sey­mour’s big­gest and most suc­cess­ful train­ers Shannon and Lee Hope, suf­fered a se­ri­ous leg and an­kle in­jury in a fall at jump-outs at Bal­larat in early March.

The in­jury was so se­vere she had nine screws and a plate in­serted in her smashed right an­kle, tibia and fibula, and was forced to watch on from the side­lines for the bet­ter part of six months.

But it didn’t take long for Ms Hope to re­turn to the win­ners’ list when she made her come­back to rac­ing last month.

She was aboard the Hope-trained Dash­ing De­clan for her first ride back at Wan­garatta, in which she placed third, while sta­ble­mate Small Town Honey de­liv­ered the up-and-com­ing star her first win back from in­jury on her home turf at Sey­mour.

It was only her sec­ond meet­ing, and fourth ride back, but Ms Hope said she was re­lieved to get a win­ner on the board so early in her come­back.

‘‘I was prob­a­bly a lit­tle bit ner­vous, but I just couldn’t wait for the day to ride again, to be hon­est,’’ Ms Hope said.

‘‘Six months was a long time to be out of ac­tion, so I was glad to be back.’’

While she’s not sure if she will be in the sad­dle on Godol­phin Sey­mour Cup Day just yet, she cer­tainly won’t be too far away from the ac­tion.

Ms Hope is this year’s cup am­bas­sador and is look­ing for­ward to be­ing a part of Sey­mour Cup Day after miss­ing a large chunk of the year through in­jury.

‘‘We’re (the Hope sta­ble) plan­ning on hav­ing a cou­ple of run­ners on cup day and I’ll be rid­ing if we do have run­ners, but it’ll de­pend on what hap­pens be­tween now and then and bar­rier draws and things like that,’’ she said.

‘‘A lot of Mel­bourne train­ers bring re­ally de­cent horses to coun­try races th­ese days, so there is a lot of com­pe­ti­tion and races like the Sey­mour Cup are a big draw­card for a lot of the good train­ers.

‘‘But even if I’m not rac­ing, it’ll be nice to go around and min­gle with every­one and just en­joy the day, be­cause it’s al­ways a great day at Sey­mour Cup.’’

This year, cup day will fea­ture a nine-race pro­gram, cul­mi­nat­ing in the main event — the Godol­phin Sey­mour Cup.

While the Hopes are yet to have a Sey­mour Cup win­ner — the last lo­cally-trained win­ner was David Bourne’s Fi­nal Tempo back in 1998 — they are cer­tainly no strangers to suc­cess on their home deck.

‘‘We have a lot of suc­cess at Sey­mour and also Kilmore, I think be­cause it is our home track,’’ Ms Hope said.

‘‘There’s not a meet­ing that goes by where Dad and Pa don’t have at least one win­ner. They gen­er­ally walk away with a cou­ple of wins, which is nice.

‘‘Dad’s been trainer of the year eight or nine years run­ning. He’s won every year we’ve been here, so the track has been very good to us.’’

The Godol­phin Sey­mour Cup Day will be held on Oc­to­ber 22. Gates open at 10.30 am and shut­tle buses will run to and from the Sey­mour sta­tion in the morn­ing and af­ter­noon. Pre-pur­chased ad­mis­sion is $20, or en­try is $25 at the gate.

Pic­ture: Ker­rie Lorenzi (KLK Eye Pho­tog­ra­phy)

Style and sub­stance: Sey­mour-based jockey Tahlia Hope, pic­tured with Dash­ing De­clan, is this year’s Godol­phin Sey­mour Cup am­bas­sador. Hair and make-up: Sue Parker and Sarah Bruce (Be­spoke Hair­dress­ing, Sey­mour). Millinery: Vic­to­ria Jane Millinery.

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