On Melbourne Cup day, O’Hara finds herself in the Big Dance on King Of the Castle, trainer Joe Pride’s favourite horse.
“He’s a good lightweight chance on Tuesday,” Pride says. “He will be strong through the line, and there’s a sense of timing about him. And you need a good lightweight jockey and Kathy was the right choice and she is in form.”
But while it’s been a good month for O’Hara, there can also be disappointments in racing, which she experienced when Epsom winner Rediener was scratched from Saturday’s Golden Eagle.
“You don’t know when a horse like Rediener is going to come along, and you don’t know when it might be over, so to win a group 1 on him was great,” O’Hara says.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see him [in the Golden Eagle] on Saturday because of injury, which is disappointing.
“There are other opportunities; I’m on King Of The Castle, which is a good chance in the Big Dance, and Palmetto in the Five Diamonds on Saturday after he won the Prelude. It’s been a pretty good spring so far, and we still have a lot to go.”
Duckworth shared the disappointment of Rediener’s scratching last Friday, a horse that given them their best moment on a racetrack together. Duckworth knows how tough it is for O’Hara, and that made the Epsom special.
“I’m immensely proud of her because she has been riding for 20 years and is in the top 15 jockeys in Sydney. That is against everyone, and she earns every bit of success,” Duckworth said.
“She works hard and gets no favours from us or anyone else. It made Epsom day awesome for us. She got the opportunity to ride the right horse and capitalise on it, which is so important because success breeds further success.”
Since Redeiner’s Epsom win, O’Hara’s agent Ryan Roberts has been busy booking more opportunities for her. She could just as easily have been at Flemington for the Melbourne Cup but he preferred the opportunity in the Big Dance.
“You can’t equate what a group 1 win on a big day does for Kathy,” Roberts said. “Everyone knows her and everyone likes her, but winning changes the way she is seen.
“She had a couple of light Melbourne Cup ride offers, but the opportunity in Sydney was better for her on Tuesday.
“A couple of years ago you would have jumped at any Cup ride, but she could win the Big Dance on King Of The Castle, and it’s worth $3 million, and she has Special Swey in the Little Dance.
“King Of The Castle won the Big Dance wildcard and he was as good a ride as you were going to get in a $3 million race. So we took him over the Melbourne Cup
“She likes being at home and I think she can win a couple more big races in the next couple of weeks.”
The success of the past couple of months has O’Hara making plans for the Londonderry property, which has experienced drought and floods since they bought it.
“After I won the Epsom I thought, ‘That money can go straight towards the bore’,” O’Hara says after having noticed the farm was getting a burnt-off look as a hot, dry summer approaches. “We have to go down about 200 metres, but you always need water.
“We have approval and it’s going to cost 40 grand. We need it for our future, and it’s paid for. Even though the place has been under water for the past three years in the floods, now it is really dry. We bought it in the middle of a drought, so we know how dry it can get.”