LINDA Meech jets off home to New Zealand on Friday to take a well-earned break.

LAURA BANKS reports in THE AGE that Meech promised her mother that if she clocked up 100 winners nationally this season she would head across the Tasman for her birthday, and she hit the century mark on June 28 at Flemington.

Meech is understated and underrated. She is ranked fourth in the Victorian premiership on 96 winners, behind Brad Rawiller (142), Dean Yendall (131) and Damian Lane (96). But she remains humble, despite hitting the ton for the fourth time in her career and riding her 1000th career winner at Mortlake in November, and she believes she can do better.

The 33-year-old came to Australia on a working holiday in 1998 and never went home. “Racing is a lot better here than New Zealand, the quality and prizemoney just doesn’t even compare,” Meech said.

Meech is modest about her abilities; “I would have liked to have ridden 100 winners in Victoria already, but there's not much I can do. Just work harder next year."
She has collected 10 winners in town this season, her best to date. November was a good month for her – she also rode five winners at one meeting at Echuca. 

“I would like to start riding in town more frequently,” she said. “But in racing there are no guarantees, you can drive yourself mad trying too hard because there is no guarantee you’ll get on a horse that’s good enough to win and it doesn’t matter how hard you try, you’ve got to have a bit of luck.”

Meech was in the saddle before she could walk. Growing up in “steep, hilly” New Zealand terrain meant most of the stockwork was done on horseback.

“I don’t know where it came from but I always wanted to be a jockey,” Meech said. “Before I started school, when I was about four, I told my mum I didn’t need school because I was going to be a jockey.”

Meech said she owed a lot to Peter Moody. “He is my biggest supporter and I ride for lots of good trainers in country Victoria as well, which helps get the numbers up,” she said. “I have ridden more winners in town this season but I don’t get a lot of rides in town, so it’s nice to have a good strike rate.”

Meech said it was encouraging to see the likes of Michelle Payne and Katelyn Mallyon getting the opportunities and results at the metropolitan meetings.

“There were some great female jockeys when I was young, just as good as the girls today, the difference is the girls now are getting the opportunities that the likes of Therese Payne and Maree [Payne] didn’t get,” she said. “Therese was a superstar jockey and at the same time Linda Jones and those riders were competing against the men, and it has just taken a long time to all catch up.”

Meech said punters could expect to see her in the saddle for many years to come. She is fit and healthy and “there is no reason why I can’t keep riding for a long time”.

She returns to Australia on July 17 and will head to Darwin for the Northern Territory Derby.


Join Us on Facebook

Racing News

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Getaway & Go Racing &
Day at the Races FREE Ratings
BN: 55127167

Login Form