At 25 years of age, Jessica Eaton has had to overcome more adversity than most in her three-year riding career. Having encountered more than her fair share of time on the sidelines, it’s any wonder last Friday night’s win in the Daemco Handicap was a significant one.
The racing game can be a rocky road and with lengthy stints on the sidelines with two broken legs, along with four training masters each at different locations, Eaton’s journey hasn’t been as straight forward as she would have liked, but there is now light at the end of tunnel.
The talented hoop has only been back in the saddle less than three months after suffering a broken leg in an accident at Sale, with her first winner back coming in the Avoca Cup on Caulfield Cup Day – the same track she rode her first winner at in 2015. Eaton had ridden 16 times at The Valley for three placegetters prior to Friday night’s breakthrough win on the Robert Kingston trained Esposito Gold.
“I’ve been pretty lucky coming back from injury and to get a metropolitan win for Robbie (Kingston) who has supported me heaps is massive,” Eaton told Racing.Com.
“If you work hard the opportunities present and it’s a matter of making the most of it.”
Having grown up in Gisborne, Eaton was inducted into the RV Apprentice Jockey Training Program in 2014 under the tutelage of Mick Price. She has also enjoyed stints in Stawell with Terry and Karina O’Sullivan and in Albury under Brett Cavanaugh, before joining her current base at Mornington with Chris Meagher.
Career highlights include being crowned the Victorian Jockeys’ Association Outstanding Apprentice Jockey in Training Award in 2017 and in the same year won the Western Australian Apprentice Series for Victoria. Eaton was lucky to be involved with some top line horses throughout her career including Group 1 Valley winner Samaready in her time at Mick Price’s Caulfield base.
Friday night was just the start of a winning weekend when Eaton travelled to Stawell on Saturday notching her 78th career win. She will be hoping that tally can increase when she again partners with Esposito Gold in the Australian Unity Handicap at The Valley in Race 6 tonight.