Hold your horses, Australia’s richest race day, the Jeep Magic Millions has announced ambassadors for 2016 and I am thrilled to see Queensland’s leading female jockey, Tegan Harrison as one of the faces. Tegan is a fantastic choice for a carnival that prides itself on the involvement of women in the thoroughbred horse-racing industry, thanks to owner Katie Page-Harvey. Tegan’s mum was a jockey in a male dominated field, and growing up in Lawrence, northern New South Wales, her childhood days were filled with horses. Weighing in at an effortless 52 kilos, last year she became the first female to win back-to-back metropolitan titles. With 43 wins, she was also named apprentice of the year for the second time. Tegan joins Seven Network presenter Hamish McLachlan (the Carnival and Sales ambassador) and returning Patron of Magic Millions Racing Women, Zara Phillips MBE. Horses will jump on Saturday 9th January 2016. Lunch with Liz caught up with Tegan at Citrique Restaurant, The Marriott, Surfers Paradise.
WHERE WE WENT: Citrique Restaurant, The Marriott, Surfers Paradise.
WHAT WE ATE: Seafood Platter: Cold: fresh Oysters, Bugs, King Prawns, marinated Mussels and Scallops, Smoked Salmon, Spanner Crab. Hot: battered Flathead fillets, Prawns, crumbed Calamari, Kilpatrick Oysters and chips (for 2 people) $150
WHAT WE SIPPED: San Pellegrino sparkling 1L $12, Chandon Brut NV, Yarra Valley VIC $13.50 a glass
WHAT TEGAN WORE: Cooper St, Myer. Shoes, Novo
WHAT LIZ WORE: Tahlulah, Australian Flavour
It’s the 30th year for Magic Millions what do you attribute the success of this Gold Coast carnival to?
“We already get a big crowd but with the big rise in prize money this year, it’s going to be an even bigger crowd! It’s a perfect time of year for people to come and have a holiday on the Gold Coast, go to the beaches, go to the races, go buy a horse! It’s attracting people to owning their own horses, having a day out, getting dressed up and watching them race. I love that women are there to watch their horses too, not just there to be a part of fashions on the field!”
How are you finding the pressure of frocking up and the fashion side of your racing duties?
“I love it! For me it’s not something that I’m naturally good at, so it’s been fabulous to have Myer helping me with my outfits and doing my hair and makeup. I just sit there and take it all in and try to learn!”
Lets speak frankly and fear not of offending me and my blogger title; these days racing carnival ambassadors predictably are bloggers, I hate the word wags so I’ll say esteemed partners, socialites or models. How have you found the reaction to your announcement as the face of the carnival?
“The people I’ve had feedback from are those in racing themselves and everyone’s been really encouraging and full of well-wishes. I think they’re proud actually, that I’ve been given this opportunity.”
What was it like shooting the TVC to mark the Carnival’s 30th year and the new $10million dollar prize-pool?
“It was a very interesting day. We got there at 5:30am and I thought ‘this is ridiculous it can’t take that long’ but we started and it was non-stop until 3pm. It was such a strange set-up having cars, flags and horses all on the beach. We had our own trailer-vans; it was like we were famous! It was really cool, great atmosphere and I met some really interesting people. At the end of the day the horses were getting a bit restless but we let them go in the water and have a play and then they were more than happy to cooperate again. They just wanted to have a good time at the beach as well as do their work.”
Have you met fellow Carnival and Sales ambassador Hamish McLachlan yet and what’s the inside goss?
“He was one of the interesting people on the day that I spoke of meeting. He’s a very clever and genuinely good person. So I’m really honored to be sharing this role with him. He’s very helpful, someone with his experience of speaking in front of cameras is great for me as I’ve had none! I speak to cameras post race about racing and that’s it!”
Do you watch any of the horse sales over the Magic Millions?
“Everybody that I work with will be going to the sales. Raceday, leading up to the Magic Millions, it’s all anybody talks about. ‘Are you going to the sales?’ It’s just as important for jockeys to get down to the sales as it is for trainers and owners because the whole racing community is there, interested in buying horses. You’ve got your big stud-owners and if you’re there communicating with them, it creates relationships and opportunities to ride their horses in the future. It could open a window for you to be able to look after one of their new horses. So I’ll be there as a jockey in 2016 not just as an ambassador! It’s the one day of the year I can reach people like Gai Waterhouse. I’ve now ridden for Gai, it was a dream, she’s very professional and very positive and they’re probably the two things I took away from riding for her.”
What’s a typical weekday for Tegan?
“I get up at 2:30am, drive up to Brisbane and ride track work mostly for Tony Gollan. Then I ride jump-outs for a mix of trainers. Early afternoon I’ll go home, have some lunch and then ride my pony. Then cook dinner for Ben and I, watch Home & Away and go to bed!”
How closely do you have to watch what you eat and what’s your approach to training?
““I’m one of the lucky ones, I could eat this seafood platter all to myself and go and ride. Where a lot of people can’t eat three or four days before their race, I’m very lucky that I’m naturally small and light. I can drop back from 52 kilos really easily if I have to, I can race at 48kilos. I think as a jockey the majority of your training comes through track work and jump outs, it’s one of those sports that you have to do to be race fit. You just need plenty of rides before a race day. If I am having a light time with rides I’ll go to the gym, where I have a personal trainer. We work on a strong upper body and core, to sit on alot neater and let everything flow. I don’t need to do much legwork, as from being in that position so often, my legs are naturally very strong. I love food, I am so lucky!”
What do you do in your time off?
Are you in a relationship?
“Yes my partner Ben Hull is a huge part of why I have done so well with my racing. He’s been in racing his whole life, knows the industry inside out and back to front and has educated me through the early stages of my apprenticeship. He’s so passionate about racing as am I.”
Kara’s Question. *note to reader Kara is my adult best friend (not a child) who gets to ask each week’s celebrity one question. Do you even like horses?
“I had this conversation with someone the other day and I was saying it’s just ridiculous how much I love horses. I mean I brought a pony! I ride horses for a job, I’m with them 24/7, I would have ridden 13 horses already today and then for my afternoon off I’ll go home and ride my pony! And I don’t get sick of it, I really really enjoy spending time with horses!”