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Adams rides off to Shaky Isles

Tatura jockey Rochelle Adams is heading to New Zealand to pursue her career with prominent trainer John Wheeler.

DAMEN FRANCIS May 29, 2014 3:05am

Rochelle Adams is leaving Tatura to ride for John Wheeler in New Zealand.

In the world of horse racing, New Zealand is the land of opportunity for women riders and that’s where Tatura amateur jockey Rochelle Adams is headed.

Adams, 23, jets off to New Plymouth — 350km south of Auckland — on Sunday to link up with prominent trainer John Wheeler.

Adams said about 80 per cent of riders in New Zealand were women, compared to about five per cent in Australia, and with a year-round jumps and amateur racing industry, there was plenty of opportunity.

‘‘It’s a totally different culture over there,’’ Adams said.

‘‘I was really amazed when John rang me because he said ‘you can do whatever you like for me, if you want to jump you can jump, if you can go on the flat that’s fine, it’s up to you’.

‘‘He’s really supportive of female riders, which astounded me because here it’s totally the opposite, there’s no opportunities here unfortunately.

‘‘I’ve been lucky with the trainers I have, because they’ve all given me a really good hand up, which is very hard to come by.

‘‘I’m a bit nervous, but it should be really good.’’

Adams comes from a pony club background, but moved to Tatura six years ago to ride for Kevin Evans.

Last season she had 20 rides for three winners, including the the 2100m Yea Cup on the Evans-trained Mr O’Postrophe.

Her work with Mr O’Postrophe gave her the confidence to try her luck overseas.

Adams is an amateur flat jockey, but Wheeler’s 45-strong stable is mainly made up of jumps horses, giving Adams the opportunity to develop new skills, as well as building key racing industry networks.

‘‘The amateur racing in New Zealand they run a lot over distance, so a lot will be running in amateurs and looking to go to jumps races,’’ she said.

‘‘He said the opportunity was there for me to ride a few jumpers as well, which is a bit exciting to broaden my horizons a bit.’’

Adams thanked Tatura trainers that had supported her in Evans and Cameron Halliwell, as well as her employer Horseland in Shepparton, which sponsored her to go and compete.

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