Persistence pays for apprentice jockey in job search
WHEN Alannah Fancourt penned letters to 40 south-east Queensland trainers requesting work in 2010 and 2011, she was young and inexperienced but determined to chase her dream after watching the Melbourne Cup and other major race meetings.
Now her ambitions are starting to be realised.
The 22-year-old apprentice jockey showed all the class of a top hoop in taking out the Kelly Equine Veterinary Service Plate (Class 3, 2200m) with Supercoach at Corbould Park yesterday.
Based in Brisbane with trainer Tony Gollan, the former Toowoomba girl has enjoyed some success, including a handful of metro wins, during her eight months there.
"I'm not looking back now," she said.
Fancourt is intent on making her mark in the city but can recall what it was like when first looking for a job in racing.
"I just loved watching the Melbourne Cup and the races and it was a matter of telling mum, 'That's it, I'm doing this'," she said.
With just some background at pony club, Fancourt sent letters to trainers far and wide asking for a job.
Deagon trainer Pat Duff answered and she soon found herself doing trackwork and stablehand chores.
"I didn't have any experience with racehorses and I tell you what, it was different," she said.
From there she moved to Norm Hilton at Toowoomba and then to Darryl Gollan.
She is now working with Darryl's son, Tony.
It hasn't been a completely smooth ride.
Fancourt left the sport for a year during 2013-2014, when she was battling weight issues.
"I struggled with it pretty bad and I was getting pretty sour on the game," she said.
"It controlled everything, but after I got my act together.
"Darryl pretty much said to me, 'It's time to get back in the saddle', and I've been non-stop (since)."
Fancourt said she was unlikely to be heavily involved in the Brisbane Winter Carnival but would press for wins on the provincial circuit in coming months.
ONE person who will be heavily involved in the carnival is Coast trainer Natalie McCall, who is looking to the Stradbroke Handicap for River Lad after his win in the Group 1 last year.
"It is more exciting this year. I have a bit more self-confidence going into the carnival knowing I've got a horse capable of winning it," McCall said.
"My bloke has proven he is up to the task and we are looking forward to the challenge."