How to be a winner

5 min read

Australian Champion Jockey, Kerrin McEvoy, knows what it's like to only be as good as your last race. Here he talks to us about what it takes to be the best at what he does.

Your job involves you constantly preparing for the best, making sure you are in shape physically and mentally. How do you keep motivating yourself?

Physical Fitness is a big thing in our industry and as I am now in my mid-30s and have had a few injuries, I need to be keep flexible as well. I have a personal trainer in Sydney that I work with once or twice a week on different fitness aspects, but mostly core strength, which I regard as quite important in riding horses. I also do lots of stretching and have regular massages and also see my physio at least once a week. Being mentally prepared is also vital and whilst we work pretty much every day, having time away from thinking about racing all the time is really important. Having three young sons certainly helps me to do that as they are a real handful at times but always fun to be around.

Your career is one which has a limited lifespan, is that something you think about?

I don't really think too much about my when my career will actually end as I think that as long as I stay fit and healthy and maintain my desire, I hope to be able to ride well into my 40s. After that I like to stay in the industry and maybe breed and race some horses but I do also have some business and investment interests outside of racing that I would like to pursue as well.

Does coming from a racing family give you a good background in planning your long-term career? Do you think you'll ever leave the sport?

My family has been involved in racing all their lives and also marrying Cathy Payne who comes from a racing background as well is certainly a big help as everyone around us understands what I go through week in week out. I love racing and who knows what the future holds but I think I will always have some involvement with the industry.

Who inspires you?

My family and also my wife's family continue to inspire me to do well in life. On a sporting front a very close friend whom I met whilst travelling and riding overseas, Irishman Johnny Murtagh, is a great source of knowledge and I often ring him to chat about my form, his form and anything racing really. He is a great guy and a champion jockey who has won English Derbys, Arc de Triomphes. You name it, he has won it.

How important is it to have a good relationship/trust with your mount?

Yes it's very important, when you are travelling upwards of 60 km/h at stages of a race, there is a fine line between riding well and putting yourself, other riders and horses at risk. As top level jockeys, we really do have to trust each other that we all ride competitively but at the same time ride safely.

When it comes to handling difficult horses what are some general tips that help you develop a rapport quickly?

I like to sit quiet on a horse if they start to get agitated. Having been around horses all my life I feel I have quite a good understanding of what certain horses like and what they don't like, which can help avert any trouble that might be just around the corner.

What has been your favourite horse race to date?

I'd have to say the Melbourne Cup. Winning the race in 2000 on Brew really did kick-start my senior career. Also the Epsom Derby in the UK, which is run at Epsom, it's an amazing course and race and I was lucky enough to have ridden in it a few times and ran second in it in 2004.

How important is money to you?

I have worked very hard over my career but by the same token I have also been quite lucky, particularly with the opportunity given to me to ride for Godolphin overseas. This has enabled me to provide for my family and hopefully, in time, for them to be comfortable and for the kids to also have opportunities that I didn't always have growing up.

What's the best piece of investment advice you've been given?

To not have all your eggs in the one basket, which is what I have tried to do with my various investments.

Do you have a financial planner? What have they done for you?

I have long term relationships with my accountant, finance broker and financial planner. I work closely with each of these people who in turn work closely with each other to make sure that the ideas they have match our overall strategy.

What does it mean to you to prepare for the best?

I'm a big believer in being in a good space when I go to the races. Nutrition and diet is a huge factor when trying to maintain my weight at 52kg or 53kg plus also fitness and rest is vitally important for me. Being a dad of three young boys is also a challenge for me and my wife, Cathy but I am very lucky that Cathy, who was an excellent jockey herself, understands what I go through and as such she allows me to prepare for each race day with some time to rest and sleep when I need it, which helps perform at a high level on the racetrack.

You were out of action because you were injured. What did you do during that time and how prepared were you for it?

You're never prepared for an injury and the fall I had in June 2010 at Gosford when I broke my back put me out of action for many months. I was in a brace for 12 weeks and after that there were months of rehab work to strengthen my back and my core. Thankfully everything healed well and I was lucky in that I had great support from family and friends.

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This information is current as at 02/01/2014.

This information has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs.

Diana Saad is a representative of Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL & ACL 233714.

For illustrative purposes only. Based on a real life examples.