Premiership-winning New Zealand jockey Samantha Collett has made the move to Queensland and hopes to be in the saddle on Melbourne Cup day.
Top Kiwi rider Samantha Collett was at the pointy end of the food chain in her homeland but she is under no illusions as to the challenges that await her in Queensland as she prepares to call the Sunshine State home.
Collett is currently in hotel quarantine on the Gold Coast and is planning on having her first day in the saddle as a fully-fledged Queenslander on Melbourne Cup day in less than two weeks time.
The championship-winning Collett brings with her a wealth of experience but said she will be working her way up from the bottom as she attempts to cash in on Australia’s phenomenal prizemoney.
“I don’t expect to just slot into the leading ranks, I am a realist,” she said.
“I would eventually like to be a more senior rider in town.
“I have been a freelance rider my whole career and that has worked well for me because you can make yourself available to anybody.
“Being a lightweight rider at home, I have had more opportunities by not attaching myself to one stable.”
Collett got her first experience of Queensland during the winter carnival when she travelled over with two Group 1 Kiwi horses and decided to make the move permanent several months later.
Living on a farm back home, Queensland’s laid-back lifestyle stood out to Collett who said city living has never excited her.
Collett will be managed by Cameron Partington, who also has the likes of Jim Byrne, Mark Du Plessis and Michael Rodd under his watch.
“It is a new challenge, I feel like I have achieved what I set out to achieve at home,” Collett said.
“I had a bit of a working holiday during the winter and I felt like it was a lifestyle I could adapt to – I have my farm back home so living in town hasn’t always been my thing.
“Obviously with that comes a large mortgage so making more money would help.”
Having had her first two flights to Australia cancelled, Collett’s move to Queensland has been somewhat of a labour of love so her time in quarantine has been spent attempting to learn the form to ensure no stone is left unturned.
With the prospect of quarantine-free travel on the horizon into Australia, Collett said it wasn’t worth waiting around to see what would happen.
“I made such an effort to change my whole life to come over here so whether I had to quarantine or not I wanted to get over here as soon as I could,” she said.
“I have been doing lots of form, spending a bit of time to familiarise myself with names and horses before I get out.”
Collett is expected to exit hotel quarantine late next week ahead of her return to races after that.
Originally published as Kiwi jockey Samantha Collett prepares for Melbourne Cup day return to racing in Brisbane