Sport

Tracy O'Hara vows to ride for lost friend Carly-Mae

Tracy O’Hara with the Bundaberg Gold Cup in 2011
Tracy O’Hara with the Bundaberg Gold Cup in 2011 Mike Knott

IN THE jockeys' room at Callaghan Park on race days they were the best of mates chatting away, giggling, gossiping and naturally discussing horses and racing.

However, as soon as the race day attendant called "jockeys please" that all changed.

Instinctively their fiercely competitive professional nature kicked-in and they became rivals on the track in quest of winning.
 

Read more:

Specialist team helps those reeling from Carly-Mae tragedy

Former Rocky trainer tells of shock at loss of Carly-Mae


Such is the "sisterhood" of female jockeys and fallen jockey - Rockhampton's Carly-Mae Pye, 26 who passed away on Tuesday - and her confidant Tracy O'Hara, 29, were no different.

"We were best mates on and at the track. We worked horses together at track work each morning and saddled up alongside each other. The impact of the tragic loss of Carly-Mae's life has devastated me", Ms O'Hara said yesterday.

On Monday just after 11.30m as Carly-Mae lay stricken on the track at Callaghan Park after her mount broke its front legs and fell on her, Tracy O'Hara's heart sunk as she raced from her vantage point in the grandstand.

"It was just horrendous watching the fall. I was sickened as I ran to be with Carly-Mae on the track," said Tracy.

Admitting the death of her best friend Carly-Mae and the circumstances surrounding it had initially affected her deeply, Tracy described the frenzied yet eerie scene when she arrived at Carly-Mae's side.

"It was so sad. I really mean it when I say I consider myself so lucky to have been there and to be able to hold Carly's hand as she lay on the track. I just kept holding her hand," she said.

"Tim (Cook, Carly-Mae's partner) was there and so was trainer Ray West. It was so sad but I was blessed to be there.

"I just kept thinking I had to be there for Carly-Mae consoling her, holding her hand and it was so hard because her family naturally couldn't be there with her."

As the horrendous extent of Carly-Mae's injuries became apparent, Tracy admitted she "wanted to hide for the next 24 hours".

"I avoided everyone and everything as much as possible at first. The impact was so devastating, realising Carly-Mae wasn't going to make it.

"But then my strength kicked in and I knew I had to extend my hand of friendship to Tim as he was being so brave.

"I approached Tim and asked if he was going to start Carly-Mae's last winner Zaha Express (that he trains) in the race at Callaghan Park on Saturday. Carly-Mae was due to ride it," Tracy explained.

She said understandably at first Tim wasn't sure before saying, "I don't have a rider".

"I said you do now as I will and want to ride it ... and we have to do this for Carly-Mae's sake. That's what friends do. I got a release from Waffle from Andrew Suli which I had been booked to ride which was very good of him," Tracy said.

So on Saturday at Rockhampton racing's biggest day, St Peters Caulfield Cup Day races at Callaghan Park, Tracy O'Hara will don Carly-Mae's colours and emblazoned breeches aboard Zaha Express.

Tracy's ride in that humble Class 1 Handicap (1100m) will be the cynosure of not only the eyes of thousands on course but myriad Sky Racing viewers Australia-wide.

As she brings Zaha Express to the starting gates at Callaghan Park, Tracy O'Hara will not be alone.

TRUE PROFESSIONAL: Jockey Carly-Mae Pye, pictured on Sporting Page after winning a race at Callaghan Park in 2012, was last night fighting for her life in the Rockhampton Hospital.
TRUE PROFESSIONAL: Jockey Carly-Mae Pye, pictured on Sporting Page after winning a race at Callaghan Park in 2012, was last night fighting for her life in the Rockhampton Hospital. Chris Ison Rokcrace

Her "best mate" Carly-Mae Pye will ride with her, nestled closely in Tracy's heart no doubt, willing her on to win.

How fitting a celebration of Carly-Mae Pye's life would it be if Zaha Express raced with the wings of angels to win?

There wouldn't be a dry eye at Callaghan Park as the very thought of such a special win is what dreams are all about.

Such is the sisterhood of female jockeys and the joy they bring in both life on the track and the afterlife in the heavens.

They comprise about 25% (about 200) of the jockey ranks Australia wide and horse racing would be lost without them.

While presently Rockhampton racing is lost without Carly-Mae Pye, it has been all the richer for having this very special girl ride 200 winners in our midst.

Topics:  carly-mae pye horse racing horses jockey sport



Don’t go chasing waterfalls…find them on these drives!

BRISBANE isn’t all bright lights and city slickers.

Science Festival seriously awesome

Don't miss the World Science Festival Brisbane!

CALLING everyone who wants to see something totally cool.

Drink where the cool kids do this summer

There are a bunch of new bars open in Brisbane, make sure you're there!

CHECK out these new funky bars.

Discover Brisbane’s laneway gems

Brisbane's laneways will surprise you.

NOT all of Brisbane City is as it seems…

Top five things to experience this summer in Brisbane

Tangalooma is amazing if you're keen for a dive, kayak or swim.

THIS summer get out and explore your capital city.

Your boots are made for walking these tours

Brisbane Greeters tours are a great way to learn the local history of the city.

YOU don’t need a bike or bus for a seriously good tour of Brisbane.

Is Brisbane the new arts and culture capital?

Check out GOMA's latest exhibition - it's all about hair! GOMA 10 Ambassador Patience Hodgson visits Nervescape V 2016 by Icelandic artist Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir (aka Shoplifter), commissioned for ‘Sugar Spin: you, me, art and everything’ at the Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane. 
Photograph: Natasha Harth, QAGOMA

THE rest of the world should be envious of this line-up!

FIFO battle: Rockhampton Mayor responds to Townsville attack

BIG PLAYER: An Antonov-124-100 lands at Rockhampton Airport. The airport is a key part of Rockhampton's push to be the FIFO hub for Adani's Carmichael Mine.

Townsville media say Rockhampton dealt double blow in Adani hub bid

Demolition crews make historic find on Capricorn Coast

Local Disaster Coordination Centre concept plans

50-year-old plaques returned to their original owner

Glendale family gets surprise visit from prison escapee

Adrian Boughton escaped from the Capricornia Correctional Centre Low Security Prison Farm

Adrian Boughton was dehydrated and weak when he knocked on the door.

Local Partners

MOVIE REVIEW: Trainspotting sequel as good as original

DIRECTOR Danny Boyle puts on a masterclass in how to use a 20-year gap between movies to your advantage.

How Karl Stefanovic's wife, kids found out about girlfriend

Karl Stefanovic and Jasmine Yarbrough after their day on Sydney Harbour. Picture: Jonathan Ng

Pictures splashed across tabloid were shock to family

WATCH: Toowoomba opera hopeful's incredible voice

Kaitlyn Orange attends Opera Queensland auditions at Empire Theatres for Opera at Jimbour, Saturday, February 18, 2017.

Opera hopefuls vie for parts in performance at Jimbour House

MKR turns spiteful in suddendeath elimination

Alyse and Matt battled Josh and Amy in a spiteful elimination cook-off.

Bottom of the ladder faces off in spiteful sudden-death cook-off.

Jilted Married At First Sight groom rejected again

Is Married at First Sight groom's second chance over already?

Why the Rocket Man won't be landing in Rockhampton

epa05642885 British singer-songwriter and composer, Sir Elton John performs in the Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 22 November 2016.  EPA/PAUL BERGEN

Bulletin asks the hard questions after today's big news

Sir Elton John coming to Mackay: What you need to know

Sir Elton will come to Mackay and Cairns in September.

Tickets to the concert go on sale on March 14

Rocky rentals close to the mark

For Rent sign in front of new house

Far better placed than other CQ cities

Popular island resort sells to loaded international investor

OUR PICK: Chris Foey's colourful shot of one of Gladstone's great tourism hot spots, Heron Island.

International investor snaps up piece of Gladstone paradise.

Expert: Why renters, home buyers may struggle

Matusik Property Insights director Michael Matusik.

What's next for the city's housing market

Massive seaside development of 3200 lots

DESIRABLE LIFESTYLE: The masterplan for the proposed Elliott Heads Estate.

"There's nothing else left along the coastline of Queensland now"

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!