Tegan to make mum proud
Nov 26, 2010
By Chris Bassani, Gold Coast Bulletin.
Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s women jockeys were a rarity and generally frowned upon in the male dominated sport.
In the northern rivers Beverley Want pioneered the way becoming the first woman to ride the winner of a Lismore, Ballina, South Grafton and two Inverell Cups.
A generation later most in the game judge a female rider not on gender but on ability.
But back in the day it was understandable Want didn’t encourage her daughter Tegan Harrison from following the same career path.
"I begged mum to let me be involved in a pony club but it wasn't until I was around 10 years old before she relented," Harrison said.
"I grew up from a racing family on both sides with my dad's family in show horses."
Harrison love of horses finally won out after working in a nursing home for two years and then attending university to become a registered nurse.
"I started Uni after year 11 and at the same time I started riding freelance track work but it became obvious racing was something I wanted to pursue more," Harrison said.
"I did a year and a half at University and deferred.
"I still have a year and a half to go but thought if I was going to be a jockey I should do it while I was still young and athletic and finish my course later down the track."
Harrison was indentured to Wayne Lawson when riding in trials before moving to the Gold Coast to be with new master David Kelly.
A lack of riding opportunities encouraged her to join Denise Ballard at Mt Isa for a month.
Harrison began riding in races in June and in mid July rode her first winner Centgeorge in Julia Creek Cup which turned to a winning double when Equivocal won later in the day.
The 21-year-old was back on the Gold Coast in August and recently signed up to be apprentice to Bruce Hill.
Harrison admits she is to still learning her trade and adjusting her style and getting good rides for any apprentice at this stage of their career is always hard.
Yet the only three occasions she was trusted on a favourite she won.
It was on the John Wallace-trained Golden Success who won three in a row.
On Saturday Harrison will be on Outback Fortune, Deb's Choice and Tie Hand at the Gold Coast.
The best of them could be Outback Fortune and Deb's Choice who Hill gives chances to.
It's uncertain if Harrison is the first female hoop in Australia whose mother also rode in professional races.
But one thing is certain Want, who now runs the Argyle Hotel in Maclean (near Grafton) is now 100 per cent behind her girl.