Melbourne Cup 2016: Katelyn Mallyon uses mum rather than Michelle Payne as inspiration

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Track rider Katelyn Mallyon rides former Melbourne Cup winner Saintly at Flemington racecourse. Photo: Paul Rovere PTRWizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all RacingDownloadable Cup sweep
Nanjing Night Net

Lloyd Williams will ring on Melbourne Cup morning. Michelle Payne might text. And then the person Katelyn Mallyon draws most inspiration from will get in touch.

“Mum’s been a huge influence on my whole entire career and life,” Mallyon says. “She’s an amazing woman.”

So you might think this year’s Melbourne Cup should just be about one woman for the only female to get a ride in Tuesday’s $6.2 million race. It is. Just not who you think it should be.

Payne may have smashed that glass ceiling a year ago. Mallyon’s mother Mary was chipping away at it long before Prince Of Penzance and that Cup win.

“She rode when the males weren’t allowed to ride against females and they were in Ladies Bracelet races at Moonee Valley,” Mallyon said of her mother’s fleeting career in the saddle. “She probably only had 10 to 20 rides in total. She was fortunate enough to ride a winner at Moonee Valley.

“She’s the first person to call me every single day and goes through my races. She’s been a huge help in every way possible. She’s been in the racing industry her whole entire life and knows about the ups and down, the broken bones, the falls, so every time I hit a bump in the road she was always there to help me.”

And there have been a few, most notably a horrific tumble at Flemington in 2012 which left Mallyon with a broken back. Before anyone could ask, she vowed to be back. Bigger and better.

Other opportunities beckoned and still beckon. A US modelling career was offered, but Mallyon was born into a family that learnt to take runs when they opened rather than strut the runway.

A star media performer already at 22, Mallyon is just as content talking to owners in a near empty mounting yard than listeners on the airwaves.

Someone has listened closely. She calls him Mr Williams – and Katelyn still confesses to having never made the trip to horse heaven at Mt Macedon – but leviathan Lloyd likes what he sees in the latest Mallyon prodigy.

Katelyn’s grandfather Mick won the Caulfield Cup three times. Lloyd, who has booked Katelyn to partner Assign, one of four runners he owns in this year’s Cup, never forgets.

“She’s a beautiful jockey, a lovely ability to rate her mounts, and I saw her grandfather do it because I was at Caulfield the day Bunratty Castle led all the way in the Caulfield Cup [in 1968],” Williams says.

Adds Mallyon: “I’ve grown up watching the blue and white win Melbourne Cups and winning everything all over Australia. Sometimes I have to pinch myself I get to ride for them. I couldn’t have thought of a better feeling of putting the blue and white colours on in the Melbourne Cup one year. It’s every jockey’s dream and I get to live it on Tuesday.”

Payne lived hers last year. Asked during the week why Mallyon – the only other female apprentice in Victoria to outride her claim – had made such a hit in a short period of time the Melbourne Cup winner said “confidence”. Mallyon hardly lacks it.

And if for a moment she doubts it, the phone will ring. Mary will be there for reassurance.

“I know she’s coming to the races and I’m sure dad [Brett] is going to have to settle her down because it doesn’t matter if I was at Echuca or riding in the Melbourne Cup, her reaction is exactly the same,” Katelyn says. “That’s for my brother Andrew as well.

“She’s very enthusiastic about cheering. And I think she’s going to be more nervous than what I am on Tuesday.” The ultimate racing form guide with free tips, live odds and alerts for all racing.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.