Despite growing up around thoroughbred racing, with her dad Noel and grandpa Kevin both successful jockeys, 19-year-old Stacey Callow wasn’t considering a career in the industry until recently.
Callow had her sights set on being a lawyer in her final years at school but when she completed year 12 she started riding track work and quickly realised working with horses was where her passion lay.
She is now one of two new female apprentices joining Racing SA’s Apprentice Academy in August as she looks to further develop her skills in race riding.
“When I was younger I did a lot of equestrian. Despite Dad riding as I grew up, I wasn’t really interested in becoming a jockey. I thought about it when I was younger but then knuckled down in year 11 and 12 and thought I wanted to be a lawyer,” Callow said.
The budding rider is currently working for trainer Jon O’Connor at Morphettville and will complete her apprenticeship under his guidance.
She moved to South Australia in early May after originally working for trainer Mick Kent at Cranbourne.
“I was with Mick for about 12 months, it was actually his idea for me to come to Adelaide,” she said.
“Mick had two horses racing here for the weekend so I came across in the truck with them, strapped them for the race meet and then stayed.
“He thought it would be good for me because there’s great opportunities here, particularly for female riders.
“The non-TAB meetings in particular will hopefully provide a good chance for me to learn my craft.”
When she starts with the SA Apprentice Academy on August 1, she will have a not-so-secret weapon on her side, with her Group 1-winning father already providing plenty of pointers to help further develop her skills.
Stacey said her dad Noel was “very happy and proud” when he found out she had been accepted into the Academy.
“I always send him my jump outs and he gives me advice. He’s always helping out. He supports me but also lets me run my own race,” she said.
“I’m looking forward to getting to the races and having dad come and watch me.
“Hopefully I’ll ride with him in a race in the future – that’s my aim.
“When I have my first ride he’s said he’ll come down to cheer me on no matter where it is.”
Racing SA Apprentice Academy Master Briony Moore said she was thrilled to have Stacey as part of the program.
“We’re excited to have both Stacey and Jade Doyle join the Academy in August and we’re looking forward to helping them develop the skills required for a fulfilling career in the saddle,” Moore said.
“As part of our growth strategy for the industry our vision is to increase our apprentice numbers by 25% across the next three years so it’s great to add two new female apprentices to our riding ranks to start the new season.”