Abel makes winning return

Tegan Abel

It’s a busy life being a working mum, but the long hours paid off for New Zealand jockey Tegan Abel at Pukekohe on Wednesday.

The apprentice jockey recently made the decision to return to raceday riding after giving birth to her daughter, Chloe, a couple of years ago, and she was pleased to get back on the winner’s board with Antigua in the Monarch Café 1200.

“It was really good to get that monkey off my back again,” Abel said. “It’s been a couple of years since I was riding (on raceday), so it was very pleasing.

“He was pretty keen the whole way, but he travelled beautifully. I was really lucky that the gap opened up on the inside of the rail, so I could keep him rolling along.”

The win was made even more special for Abel as she was able to get the win for employers Michael and Matthew Rogers.

“I am apprenticed to Mike Rogers, so it was really cool to get the win for them,” she said.

Abel previously rode for three seasons and had recorded six wins before her riding hiatus.

While she returned to track work soon after the birth of her daughter, it was not until recently that Abel decided she would make a return to raceday riding.

“I had my daughter, Chloe, she is now two, and I came back riding when she was about three months,” she said.

“My weight had dropped back down again and I was toying with the idea of whether I came back or not, and the timing seemed right.”

Juggling being a mother and work is hard for any parent and Abel said she couldn’t do it without the help of family.

“I get a lot of help from my parents and my partner,” she said. “My boss is really good, I only do three or four mornings a week, when I can get in, and raceday her grandparents have her. We get a lot of family support.”

Abel is enjoying her time back in the saddle, a pursuit she has loved since a child. While eventing was her passion in her youth, a work placement with her farrier unearthed her passion for racing.

“I used to do a lot of eventing and I did the mounted games for a while, and pony club,” she said.

“I got involved with racing through work placement at school,” she said. “I went and did some work experience with my farrier and he trained a couple in the morning so I would get up and go down with him to the track and I never looked back from there.

“The weight is pretty natural, so that makes it easier.”

Abel’s win continues the recent success of jockey mums, with Central Districts apprentice Charlotte O’Beirne winning her first race last month at Wanganui since giving birth to her son Harry last year.

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