Jamie Kah makes history at Caulfield Racecourse
Jamie Kah made Victorian horse racing history on Saturday, becoming the first jockey to record 100 metropolitan race wins in a season.
Winning 100 metro races in a single season in Victoria has proven to be an elusive achievement. Back in the 1999/2000 season, Brett Prebble went agonisingly close to becoming the first jockey in history to do it, but his official total for that year is listed at 99.5 courtesy of a dead heat during the season. But though the man himself claims that should count as a triple-figure season, the records disagree, and heading into the 2020/21 no one had managed to better him and reach the magical 100-mark.
That all changed on the weekend when Jamie Kah rode Deep Speed to victory in the Filter Form Handicap, the second race of the day at Caulfield Racecourse on July 10. That horse left the gates as a comfortable favourite according to Australian horse racing betting odds, jumping at $2.90 with most major bookmakers, and she duly took it out to an early lead which the duo would never relinquish.
Kah had been stuck on 99 wins since the Saturday prior, and noted her relief at finally reaching the milestone after Deep Speed’s win. Regardless of whether she ever got there, however, her dominance throughout the course of this season has been plain to see. Upon winning her 100th metro race for the season, it was Damian Lane sitting in second place in that category – he had just 63 wins. Having raced over 500 times this season, Kah has an incredible winning strike rate of 20%, and with another 133 second or third place finishes, she’s not all that far away from having won or placed in half of her races this season.
The win came at Caulfield Racecourse, one of Melbourne three major racecourses. The Melbourne Racing Club headquarters is set to undergo a significant $570 million transformation to improve its facilities and convert it into a sporting and entertainment precinct. Under the plan, its infield to be developed into a community precinct with various sports fields, while an additional racetrack would also be constructed at the site.
The record-breaking feat is yet another accomplishment in what is a rapidly growing resumé for Kah, who is still just 25 years of age. In the 2016/17 season, aged only 21, she enjoyed the most successful season for a female jockey in history, but five years later her accolades are no longer limited by gender. She’s the winner of more than 1,000 races throughout the course of her career, including six Group 1s and is unequivocally the pre-eminent jockey in Victoria and one of the best in the world.
Of those six Group 1s that she has won, four of them came this season – and a couple of them weren’t even in Melbourne and thus fell outside of her 100 Victorian metro win record, further demonstrating the impressive nature of her season. The first of those interstate wins was aboard Cascadian, with whom she won the $3 million Doncaster Mile at Randwick in April, while a month later she rode Vega One to victory in the Kingsford-Smith Cup at Eagle Farm. Back home in Melbourne, she won her first Group 1 of the season in October last year with Mr Quickie in the Toorak Handicap, before saluting with Nature Strip in the Black Caviar Lightning in February.
But while those wins came in bigger races than the Filter Form Handicap at Caulfield, a race with $125,000 worth of prize money – less than 5% that of the Doncaster Mile – her win on Deep Speed was unequivocally the most historically significant of her season. As the three-year-old gelding began to near the post and his rivals began to near him, the pitch of both caller and crowd alike began to rise, and the noise as she passed the post made it clear that everyone at Caulfield understood the significance of the moment.
And, with a number of Victorian metro races still to go in the 2020/21 season, Kah has plenty of time to add a lot more wins to her name. It appears likely that come season’s end, she will not only have broken Brett Prebble’s record for Victorian metro wins in a season – she will have smashed it. Incidentally, she is also closing in on John Allen in the Victorian Jockey Premiership – he has enjoyed far less success on the metro scene but his regional victories have him on top. Kah, however, is fast closing in. And if she can manage to do so, it would be an appropriate way to round out what has been a record-breaking season.