Michelle Bishop, Vardy Thoroughbreds Ambassador, sits down with us for a Q&A session.
WHAT GOT YOU INTO RACING?
This is going to sound very strange for some, but when I hear the races being called on television or on the radio it’s soothing, it takes me back to my childhood. Before dance classes in Balmain each Saturday, I used to be dropped off at my Nanna’s house in Rozelle, where she’d be madly punting $1.00 each way here and there. She isn’t with us anymore, but I can still hear her on the phone to the bookies. I never got involved in the betting (that’s changed) but we’d tell Nan to back horses purely on their names and colours. I only recently learned to read a form guide.
My real love and appreciation of horses and the industry came from the mighty mare herself WINX and her incredible owners who I have built a great relationship with. True story. Here I was a Rugby League reporter sent to cover this amazing horse who had started a pretty impressive winning streak and I knew little about her achievements. The first person I saw was Debbie Kepitis and you can imagine the chuckles from the few gathered when I said to her (not knowing she was one of the owners) have you been in racing long? and we all know Deb’s family history …now.
Debbie, Paul, Peter, Patty and their families were awesome to me throughout the Winx campaign and I’ll forever be grateful for that. As a rookie journo they made my job so much easier and what a journey that was. I can’t say I loved the early starts, traveling from the Central Coast to Rosehill for track work but to watch Hugh Bowman bring her down the straight before sunrise was inspirational and a sight I never tired from.
I might also add, Chris Waller was quick to use a footy analogy to assist me in learning more of the technical side of racing, dumbed it down a little if you like till I got a better understanding of racing and Richard Freedman also allowed me to do “work experience” at his stables in the early chilly mornings at Rosehill.
FAVOURITE MOMENT IN RACING?
My favourite moment … well there’s too many to talk about when it comes to Winx, she is really something special. But the one moment that really sucked me in and highlighted just how awesome this sport is was during Covid when a bunch of jockeys were in their own environment being just themselves. What a terrific lot.
I was and privileged enough to be at the winning post when Nettoyer won the Doncaster Mile with James Innes Jnr on board.
It’s a moment I will never forget, Nettoyer’s run was superb, but the show of sportsmanship was next level as i witnessed and captured the moment.
They were all so happy for James to claim his first group one and he was overwhelmed.
DREAM RACE TO WIN?
Surely everyone wants to conquer Everest, I’m no different!
Its taken over (in my opinion) as the biggest race in Australia and we know it’s the richest already. I still love the Melbourne Cup and its rich history.
It’s not about the money, the whole concept is brilliant and the interest in the race right around the world now is incredible.
We love the Spring Carnival, but there is something really special about the build up, the stories, and the connections.