‘Who to thank’ trumped Kayla Crowther’s feelings of excitement and relief when she achieved the notable feat of outriding her apprentice’s claim at Morphettville last Saturday.
Kayla brought up her 80th metropolitan winner on the Phillip Stokes stable’s two-year-old Instant Celebrity, bringing a premature conclusion to her apprenticeship, due to end next April.
The 21-year-old was determined to acknowledge all those who played a major part in her success. She said the two trainers who have supported her the strongest, Phillip Stokes and David Jolly, deserved to be “at the top of the list”.
“I just counted it when I was sitting on the couch on Sunday: Phillip Stokes gave me 35 metropolitan winners,” Kayla said.
“And David gave me around 10 as well – so between those two, they gave me over half my metropolitan winners.
“If I didn’t have those two I’d still be 40 wins away.”
Kayla eventually rode two winners on Saturday and said she was overwhelmed by the response to her milestone, even allowing for a somewhat notorious ‘honour’.
“I had a lot of people messaging me to congratulate me,” she said.
“I also got the ‘Saturday slaughter’ on Octane (on punters.com), but I don’t care, I had a great day.
“I was inundated with messages and people posting on my timeline and I was rapt. It was probably the most media I’ve ever received.”
Kayla also thanked TRSA’s apprentice training supervisor Briony Moore for her “great support” and her “absolutely outstanding” manager Nick Pinkerton.
Many expected Kayla to reach the 80-win mark seven days earlier, given her strong book of rides at the Murray Bridge metropolitan meeting on May 13. Despite being unable to find a winner that day, she felt no extra pressure last Saturday.
“I just treated it like any other meeting,” she said.
“I’ve ridden at enough Saturday meetings and in enough pressure meetings to feel that it was no different.”
Pinkerton has been Crowther’s sole manager and said his star client’s determination to progress had been her greatest asset.
“She’s just got a real willingness to improve,” he said.
“I’ve always had a mantra with my jockeys that’s it’s always about mind, body and craft. You’ve got to manage your mind, manage your body and you’ve got to perfect every element of your craft, and continue to find areas to improve.
“That was one of the first conversations we had and she resonated with it from the start. Kayla got herself a personal trainer, starting looking after her body and developed some strength.
“We were also doing some work to help her overcome setbacks – things that might ordinarily get lesser people off track. She managed to work through those with a real persistence and resilience to stick at it and improve.
“And of course for the craft, she worked closely with people like Briony Moore and Darren Murphy.
“Kayla’s a credit to herself in the sense that she’s always looked for that area of improvement.”
Pinkerton is supremely confident Crowther will make it as a senior jockey.
“No risk at all,” he said.
“She’s right where she needs to be to take that natural progression into being a senior without a claim.”