Hard work for young jockey

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - MIKE BAIN

Paul McKay was born and bred in the small east­ern South­land town of Wyn­d­ham into a fam­ily pas­sion­ate about the rac­ing in­dus­try.

McKay ad­mits his ca­reer as a jockey wasn’t a stel­lar one although he did have some highs hav­ing rid­den 92 win­ners be­fore blow­ing out with his weight by the time he was 18.

He is still in the game as a suc­cess­ful trainer with 40 win­ners to date.

But it’s the suc­cess of his 20 year-old­son Shaun whose ca­reer as a jockey that is giv­ing him the most pride.

Shaun McKay was named Ap­pren­tice Jockey of the Year at the Cam­bridge Jockey Club Awards and is al­ready map­ping out a long fu­ture in the rac­ing in­dus­try.

Both fa­ther and son work at the fam­ily’s rac­ing sta­bles just out­side of Mata­mata, train­ing the next cham­pion horse and jockey.

Shaun showed no in­ter­est in rac­ing as a young­ster other than to oc­ca­sion­ally muck out the sta­bles when need­ing money for his BMX or mo­tocross rid­ing.

When he wanted to leave school he asked his fa­ther about work­ing at the sta­bles.

Now three years into his four-year ap­pren­tice­ship, Shaun has al­ready rid­den over 100 win­ners.

He ad­mits his suc­cess hasn’t been easy.

‘‘It’s just hard work that has got me to where I am,’’ said Shaun.

‘‘Some days I will prac­tise my tech­nique out in the shed on the me­chan­i­cal horse and video my rid­ing.

‘‘Dad and I will cri­tique it and he will show me the pos­i­tives and the neg­a­tives.’’

Mon­days are big days in the McKay house­hold as the nom­i­na­tions for the race week are re­leased.

‘‘It’s onto the phone to or­gan­ise rides for the com­ing weeks. But with Shaun’s suc­cess, he is the one who is start­ing to get the calls from train­ers,’’ said Paul.

Shaun’s life re­volves around the alarm clock, mean­ing he is on the track at 4.30am.

Hop­ing to re­main as a jockey he is on a strict eat­ing pro­gramme and oc­ca­sion­ally a burger.

He hopes to work off­shore, maybe Aus­tralia or Hong Kong, but for now it’s about fin­ish­ing his ap­pren­tice­ship and lis­ten­ing to his dad’s ad­vice about how to ride that next win­ner.

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