Cup is family dream for Eleanor
Saturday, 22nd October, 2011
By John Casey
The feel-good story at today’s Silver City Cup races will be provided by apprentice jockey Eleanor Webster-Hawes who will ride in front of a cast of family members for the first time.
Members of the Hawes and Schinella families - including Eleanor’s 89-year-old grandmother Grace Hawes - have been waiting almost two years for this day to arrive.
“I was set to ride in Broken Hill for the first time in March but the St Patrick’s Day races were washed out,” a nervous and excited Eleanor explained.
“I’m in the second year of my apprenticeship now, so this much-anticipated day has been a long time coming.”
Eleanor explained that her father, Donald Hawes, grew up with his sister and brothers in BH and that she has made annual trips here to see her grandmother Grace.
“I love her to bits,” Eleanor said proudly. “She is the toughest lady I know.
“It will be such a thrill to ride in front of grandma and the rest of the family - some of whom are coming from interstate to see me.
“I’ve been talking about this day since July.”
Eleanor (26) has ridden around 10 winners from her 80 career rides so far enjoying success at bush tracks such as Brewarrina, Cunnamulla, Coonabarabran, Forbes, Wellington and Mudgee, as well as her home track of Dubbo.
She has a book of five rides today in Broken Hill and says it would be a dream come true to add to her tally of winners in front of her family.
Eleanor’s mother, Anastasia Webster-Hawes, is the Reverend in charge of the Anglican Parish at Blayney and is unable to be part of the ‘homecoming’.
“It was my grandfather (Ray Webster) on my mother’s side who got me interested in horses and influenced me a lot to become a jockey,” Eleanor explained.
“In 2005 I started to ride some trackwork and now I am apprenticed to Peter Nestor in Dubbo.
“It took me ages to ride my first winner - I was starting to get a little frustrated actually - and then it all came together one day at Coonabarabran on a horse called Atomic Food.
“We drew wide, but he bounced out of the stalls, got to the front and led all the way. I’ll never forget it,” Eleanor continued.
Eleanor will ride Musee D’Goss in today’s Silver City Cup and says the seven-year-old, which is trained at Cobar by Allan Prisk, is one of her favourites.
“He is an enormous horse - the biggest I have ever ridden - and he is such a beautiful animal.”
Eleanor will also ride Are Pee Gee (Race 1), Ziazan (2), Bluey’s Spin (3) and Words of Wisdom (4) ahead of the Cup.
Today’s first race is timed to start at 1.15pm, with the Silver City Cup due at 4.25pm.