Kathy O’Hara makes history in the Epsom Handicap

She has been a pioneer of Sydney racing and at Randwick on Saturday, Kathy O’Hara became the first female jockey to capture the Group 1 Epsom Handicap with a stunning performance aboard the Chris Waller-trained Rediener.

It was a special win for the leading yard as O’Hara is married to Charlie Duckworth, Waller’s racing manager and right-hand man, although she said Duckworth had been more hindrance than help leading into Saturday’s 1600m feature.

“How bloody good, I can’t believe it,” said O’Hara, whose previous majors were the 2016 Vinery Stud Stakes on Single Gaze and 2012 Coolmore Classic on Ofcourseican.

“I’m just delighted and I’m really thankful to Chris and Charlie and the whole team to be given these opportunities.

“Charlie this week was manifesting this so much….I was like, ‘can you stop being so weird and just let this happen, you’re making me nervous’!”

Waller was thrilled for O’Hara, describing her as a hard worker whose life revolved around horses.

“She does the hard yards, she goes to Kembla and Nowra, does trials and jumps outs and then she goes and rides her show horses and what she does on them is amazing,” he said.

“Very special for Kathy and Charlie, that’s a fitting result.”

The Epsom Handicap (1600m) changed complexion several times, Golden Mile leading and giving a strong kick to look like the winner inside the final 200m before the challengers came.

Kovalica ($10) began storming down the outside as O’Hara made her run on Rediener ($9.50) closer to the centre of the track, the latter getting up in time to deny his stablemate by a half-head.

Golden Mile ($16) was another head away third and Democracy Manifest ($9) a luckless fifth after being bailed up for a run behind the placegetters.

Waller said they had wanted to target the Epsom with Rediener after he won the Gunsynd Classic during the Brisbane winter but found themselves behind the eight-ball to start the campaign.

It wasn’t until he surprised them by claiming the Bill Ritchie Handicap first-up that they decided to press on with their plan.

Kovalica was outstanding in running second and while the King Charles III Stakes (1600m) at Randwick in two weeks is an option, he is likely to head straight to the Cox Plate (2040m).

“It will be there or the Cox Plate, but I’d be leaning to the Cox Plate. I think 2000 metres will suit him better,” Waller said.

Hope In Your Heart and Nugget started equal $7.50 Dabble favourites but both were trapped wide from outside draws, the former still managing a fine sixth while Nugget tired to finish tenth after making a mid-race move.

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