The life of a jockey isn’t always glitz and glamour - even for a city winning hoop like Chelsea MacFarlane. That’s right, it’s even a title the 22-year-old admits will take some getting used to.
“You don’t expect it to happen to a kid like me that’s come from nothing – it just blows your mind”.
A maiden metropolitan success at The Valley for the 22-year-old saw her make the 330-kilometre trek back to her hometown of Swan Hill, arriving home well after midnight, before a days riding at Hay. For those that don’t know of Hay, it’s a long way from the bright city lights, with one race meeting per year and a population of just over 2,000 people in New South Wales. Thankfully for MacFarlane, it was worthwhile as she rode one winner.
“It’s every kids dream to ride in the city and you are so grateful for the opportunities you get given at that level – words can’t explain it”.
It wasn’t a result though through a lack of trying, with MacFarlane having had 29 metropolitan rides that has included two placings. Most for her master, Nathan McPherson, who was also chasing his first city winner. One placing is still particularly frustrating however.
“Nathan (Hobson) and I had been trying to get our first city winner for a while together and I just got beat in Adelaide on one because I was crook with the flu and couldn’t push it out as much as I’d like”.
That effort was the furthest thing from her mind however after her most recent achievement.
“Tahlia Hope and Steph Thornton came straight up to me and my phone was certainly buzzing on the way home… the snapchats of my family watching the race were quite funny”.
MacFarlane’s journey to get to that point has certainly come full circle. Born and raised in Swan Hill and starting out with local horseman Con Kelly, stints in Bathurst, Queanbeyan, Canberra and even Melbourne, all while fighting weight battles, have been part of the course.
On Friday night, MacFarlane, Hobson and five-year-old gelding Reward With Return make the trek back to The Valley in Heat 7 of the Ladbrokes 55 Second Challenge.
“He’s been a special horse to me and he was a bit of a bugger when we first got him, but he just loves racing and I was confident he could win the other night”.
“He has 64.5 kilograms this week so I’ll ride him a bit more conservative, but I’m sure he will run well”.
MacFarlane will also collect her Callaway Rogue Driver from Drummond Golf for being awarded the Ride of the Night for her inaugural metropolitan success on
November 23. Her answer when asked if she was a keen golfer? ‘I guess I have to be now’.
MacFarlane will also ride Hobson stablemate All The Wine in Race 3 and Miss Skeptical in Race 4 for young gun Matthew Brown. Metropolitan win number two won’t be too far away.