Record-breaker Jamie Kah has revealed a subtle but significant gear change — more so, reapplication — which “maybe” helped in the pursuit for 100 winners in a season in Melbourne.
Since fiance Clayton Douglas, an accomplished jumps jockey and trainer, gifted Kah a “special” bangle the superstitious jockey “always” wears the Tiffany piece at the races.
The exception to “always” being last Wednesday‘s Sandown meeting, where Kah not only came and left empty-handed, still stranded on 99 winners despite a full book of rides, but also bare-wristed.
“I wore my bracelet,” Kah said on Saturday, having cracked the ton with a Caulfield double.
“I didn’t wear it on Wednesday by accident and I always wear my bracelet, maybe that helped me.”
Luckily for Kah, who folds and stacks gear in the same order and aligns her cap a certain way, the missing diamond-encrusted white gold bangle with an enamel blue ‘T’ was “hiding at the bottom of my bag”.
“It’s a special present from Clayton,” Kah said.
“I couldn’t find it on Wednesday so that was the killer.”
Kah has five city meetings to improve her record — 101 winners — after surpassing the high water mark 99-1/2 champion jockey Brett Prebble set in 1999-2000.
HISTORY CREATED. 🙌
The crowd roars as @jamieleekah07 becomes the first jockey to achieve 100 Vic-metro wins in a season. 💯#Kah100pic.twitter.com/ccAXR3qnwm
After winning in bunches at the start of the season, Kah set out to win the Melbourne premiership, the long-held domain of champions Damien Oliver and Craig Williams.
Oliver is a 10-time Melbourne premiership winner, while Williams had won the past five metro titles — and nine overall.
It was not until she rode five winners at Caulfield on May 8 — an Australian female-record — Kah deemed the century gettable, having moved to 86 with 12 weeks to spare.
“To be honest, a few months ago I didn’t think I’d be able to get it,” Kah said.
“I think that’s how I got so close and ended up getting to 100 because I put it to the back of my mind.“
Kah has ridden more Group 1 winners (six) than any other Australian female jockey — surpassing Michelle Payne (five) with a magical ride on Vega One in the Kingsford-Smith Cup at Eagle Farm on May 29.
The season record, however, more than measures up against top-grade wins.
“It’s probably the most special milestone for me because it’s not just a female milestone, it’s all jockeys (in Victoria) combined,” Kah said.
“Group 1s are very special but this was a milestone that hasn’t been broken by any jockey before so that’s really special to me … something I’ve ticked off now.”
The Melbourne jockeys’ room rallied behind Kah on Saturday, including Oliver, a competitive beast who hates to lose.
“Everyone congratulated me and even Ollie shook my hand and congratulated me,” Kah said.
“I think they’re all relieved, they were sick of seeing my face everywhere too.”
With the weight of expectation lifted, Kah is most looking forward to “enjoying” her riding again before the next season starts on August 1 and the tally resets.
“I’d been trying my best not to let it get to me but it felt a bit less forced after the winner,” Kah said.
“Clayton was going to come (to the races Saturday) but I said ‘let’s keep it as normal as possible’, I’m a little bit superstitious like that.”
Her parents watched the momentous milestone at home in Adelaide.
Kah will ride to the end of the season, bar some extra days off and a snow trip.
“It’s a tough year, you have to be at your top level the whole way through the year,” Kah said.
“It’s very special but I might be having a rest this time next year, I don’t think I’ll be trying to reach the 100 but I’m happy I’ve done it.”
Originally published asT-lightful: Finding ‘special’ bracelet fuels Kah record
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