When riding Greysful Glamour at trackwork, all jockey Rachel King needs to do is stay in the saddle – the mare will do the rest.
Greysful Glamour virtually trains herself. She knows what is required of her at trackwork every morning and doesn’t need King or any other track rider to even steer her around the course.
“I will jump on her at the track and she will wander out at her leisure. You can’t rush her, everything is in her own time,’’ King said.
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“But she knows where all the markers are on the track and she canters off at the same point.
“She starts going three-quarter pace at the same marker and then she sprints up the straight. She does it every time, she is incredible.
“You do get horses that get into a habit like this but not many horses are as consistent as she is at trackwork. I’ve never ridden one like her.’’
King said Greysful Glamour is obviously intelligent but it doesn’t mask her idiosyncratic nature.
“She is very clever and has so much character,’’ King said.
“But she is such a quiet, gentle horse. Many horses that have a lot of character make themselves known around the stables and at trackwork but she isn’t like that.
Rachel King on Greysful Glamour returns to scale after winning the Agency Villiers Stakes. Picture: Mark Evans/GettySource:Getty Images
“She is a creature of habit and it is so funny the way she goes about everyday life. She will let you know when she is happy or not happy.
“At trackwork, if it is raining, she will go around with her ears back the whole way. She hates it when it rains.’’
Greysful Glamour also has a peculiar, unique trait unique which King interprets as a tell-tale sign the mare is feeling well and ready to race.
“It’s this weird skip that she does on the way to the barriers,’’ King said.
“We can be cantering along and all of a sudden, you wouldn’t call it a buck or a pig root, but she gets on her back legs and skips along.
“When she does it that tells me she is in good form. It’s her thing that she does and I call it her ‘little happy skips’.’’
King is used to the mare’s unusual habit but other jockeys have been caught unaware.
“She has tricked some jockeys before,’’ King said.
Rachel King on Greysful Glamour (L) wins the Agency Villiers Stakes. Picture: Mark Evans/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
“When she started her skipping, Ben Melham thought she was lame, he couldn’t work out what she was doing. It’s a very weird feeling if you don’t know her.’’
Eagle-eyed punters on the lookout for any edge will be studying Greysful Glamour’s gait as she heads out for the Group 3 $160,000 Summer Cup (2000m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
But all the signs are that Greysful Glamour is ready for her attempt to complete a stakes-race hat-trick in the Summer Cup after her tough, all-the way wins in the Listed ATC Cup and Group 2 Villiers Stakes.
The mare’s striking grey coat and her catch-me-if-you can racing style have made her a fan favourite – and not just in Sydney.
King’s parents, who reside in Oxford, England, watch all their daughter’s rides, particularly on Greysful Glamour.
“Mum’s favourite horse is Greysful Glamour and she gets up early back home to watch the mare race,’’ King said.
“But a lot of people love this mare because of her heart. When horses try as hard as this mare you just want them to do well. She tries her hardest every start, you can tell she leaves everything out there.
“She gets out in front, bowls along then pins her ears back and is so competitive.’’
The coronavirus pandemic means King will not be able to visit her family at Christmas or at any time in the foreseeable future.
King was supposed to be in England last July to marry jockey Blake Spriggs but the couple have had to delay their wedding.
“We are now hoping to get married next July,’’ King said. “We are hoping and praying this vaccine works and we can travel to England next year for the wedding.
“Everything is booked up for next year as there were so many wedding cancellations this year so it’s going to be a bit of a nightmare getting everything organised.
Greysful Glamour jockey Rachel King. Picture: Mark Evans/GettySource:Getty Images
“In the grand scheme of things we have only had to postpone our wedding, it will happen eventually and there are a lot of people worse off than us.
“It’s a worrying time being so far away from family but my parents are OK. The areas around them are not in full lock down and they have a bit of land with plenty of horses and animals to keep them busy.’’
At least King’s parents have had plenty to cheer about from afar as their daughter continues to make her mark in Sydney racing.
King has had a great start to the 2020-21 season and at the time of writing, she has 28 city wins to be fourth on the Sydney jockey premiership. She’s ridden 50 wins on all NSW tracks to be fifth in the state rankings.
“I’m not really one to set myself goals, I kind of think about it a bit but don’t let it play on my mind too much,’’ she said.
“If I can stay in the top 10 in Sydney then I feel that is a good place to be in. If I can finish higher than that then it’s a bonus.’’
King’s emergence as one of Sydney’s leading jockeys is an unexpected consequence of what was going to be a “working holiday” when she arrived here seven years ago.
An apprentice jockey in England, King had been struggling for rides when she decided to escape the northern hemisphere winter and ride in Sydney for the summer.
“I came out here for two months – and I haven’t left,’’ King said.
“I had always planned on going back to England and trying again but I realised there were so many more opportunities in Sydney and across NSW.
“Women jockeys are accepted here but it is much tougher in England. The success that Hollie Doyle is having back home is helping to change that now.
“But Sydney is home for me now, this is where my future lies.’’
Originally published asWhy mum’s the word on King and Queen of Sydney racing
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