2017 Winning Wednesday – Kylie Johnson

When it comes to finding someone who is passionate about the thoroughbred, it is pretty hard to go passed KYLIE JOHNSON. 

From a child, Kylie had this obsession with horses and this obsession turned to passion.  Kylie is not only an owner but dedicates her limited spare time to looking after off the track thoroughbreds.  The thoroughbred world is in a much better place due to people like Kylie. 

Winning Wednesday is privilege to bring to you Kylie’s story of her LOVE, involvement and dedication to the thoroughbred. 

How long have you been in racing?

I have actively been involved in Racing for 6 years (going on 7)

Horses you own or have owned?

Hawaiian Rose, Belle Voleur and Ravitude

What is the best horse you have owned/had a share in?

Hawaiian Rose (Stratum x Kapalua Bay) trained by Grant Allard at Gosford, I had a 5{fddcb93768ef9c7fdbaa8f7e3070a154b0816ccbd68b1bd9684c02e142c32ffe} share and a tonne of fun!

Most Memorable Racing Moment as an owner?

Would have to say of course these came with Hawaiian Rose, her maiden race she dives on the line to be in a 3 way photo finish and scores 3rd behind Keep The Dane and Rajamani.

Then when she got her first win – I don’t think I have ever screamed so hard in my life! She was a horse that finished in 5 photo finishes for 2nds. Also running 4th in the 2015 Gosford Guineas as the outsider of the field – beating home some quality horses.

I hope there are many more great memories to come with Belle Voleur and Ravitude.

Do you like owning a horse on your own yourself or being in a syndicate?

Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Advantage of being in a syndicate is you share the associated costs however, you can go in by yourself and very quickly make some new friends (something that I was fortunate enough to do). Owning by yourself, you get to enjoy all the glory to yourself, but have to pay all the bills by yourself.

Do you have something special you do before each race day?

Not sure if people would consider it special but this is just me, beingpage0000001 the racing enthusiast that I am, I study the field and spend a lot of time watching their replays and working out my own speed maps and determining who the dangers are in the field.

Then on the day of the race, I like to go back and watch the wins regardless of how old they are, this gets the adrenaline going again and hypes me up. Then it is a matter of selecting the outfit (that will look good in the winning photo of course!)

You love visiting your horses – why is this so special to you?

Absolutely I love visiting my horses! It is special to me because it allows me to really deepen the connection/bond that I have with the horses. Racehorse ownership to those not in the industry appears to be “just an investment” and maybe this is the view of some in the industry- to me my horses are so much more than that, they are part of my family and mean the world to me. Being able to spend time with them and build that bond is also very relaxing for me and also I hope shows the horses that they are deeply loved and not seen just as a money making machine. A lot of my happiest moments in life have come from the times I have spent up close and personal with them- not just from cheering them on at the races or watching from TV.

What are your thoughts on racing?

How long can my answer be???? it has been a sport (well actually an addiction) that has captivated me for so long. Now that I have been asked about it, I guess my thoughts are that it is a sport that is much more than that- its an opportunity to see the Thoroughbred do what it was created for, it’s an interest that can have so many highs and sadly lows. It is an interest that provides excitement and thrills- when you hear the thundering hooves of a field or the cheers from a Melbourne Cup crowd it gets the blood pumping like no other!

I am so happy to have had my interest and passion captivated by this sport because I look at others and could not think of something to be so passionate about. Racing brings different people together whether that be for gambling, drinking or just having a day out at the races- it can unite large amounts of people as one. I feel that the industry cops a lot of negative press (especially around carnival time) but let’s face it- which sport doesn’t. It is purely a sport that is run on passion- those in the industry aren’t in it for the money, they are in it for the love of racing and the Thoroughbred.

What are your thoughts on ownership?

Love It! Love It! Love It! have I said how much I love it??images

I think it is a great way of being part of such an awesome industry. From when I got the bug I have always wanted to be in the industry- this ranged from being a jockey, to being a trainer to even being a stable-hand/strapper (mum had other ideas on all those options). So I found another avenue of being involved in the one thing I have always been truly passionate about- ownership.

It can be absolutely filled with so much fun and can introduce you to some great people. For me it gives me another reason to go to the races, simply to watch my horses run, but it means that when you are screaming at the races the scream is coming from a much deeper place as you have an invested interest and winner can also make you feel proud (especially when looking at the winning photos on the wall).

It is an avenue that is accessible for everyone, with changes to ownership rules and the various avenues of getting in- it has become more of a reality than just a dream!

Tell me other things you do with regards to your love of racing and the thoroughbred?

When I am not either travelling to watch my horses race (which can mean hours in the car on my own travelling all over the countryside) or watching from live streaming, I am proactively sharing my experiences with other people (those who know me- know I have my horses everywhere). I enjoy educating people about racing and really breaking down the misconceptions that people have regarding the industry and the treatment of racehorses- I have taken some of these people to the races and even to stables to show them just how well looked after the horses are.

When I am not at the races or working my usual job- on Saturday mornings I get up really early and have been a volunteer for a while now at the NSW Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Trust (TRT) at Canterbury Race Course.

Many ask me why I would sacrifice my Saturday Morning sleep ins, well it is simple- I am a horse crazy lady (love horses intensely), it is an opportunity to get up close and personal with horses (in the heart of Sydney) but more importantly as an owner it is a chance for me to give back to retired race horses that are being trained for a life after racing. The work that Scott Brodie and the team do is amazing and to be part of that is something that means a lot to me and I am thankful for the opportunity. I have been lucky enough to be able to be involved with some of my faves from the race track. These are horses such as Taxmeifyoucan (winner of over $500,000 and winner of the 2013 Inglis 3yr Old Classic at Scone), No Wine No Song (winner of close to $1.5 million, winner of the Sydney Cup in 2008) and currently Vashka (previously owned by Godolphin, Group 2 winner with nearly $500,000 in prizemoney).

I am also attending regular events related to racing- this can include Stable Open Days to network and of course to check out horses, I attend the sales (for the same reasons), I attend seminars, stallion parades or days of interest to me that again allow me to network with those that share the passion.

What got you into this amazing sport?

From a young age I was always into horses, however, it was a primary school excursion to Caulfield Race Track and the Phar Lap exhibit at the Melbourne Museum in the early 90s. This was the first time I had physically laid eyes on the Thoroughbred and from that moment I was hooked, I even used to do a lot of drawing as a kid- it was always of race horses and fields of race horses. It was from the moment of that excursion, I was hellbent on being a jockey (mum didn’t like that idea at all). Then I wanted to be a trainer (again mum… not a fan) and I was even considering giving up school to become a stable-hand/strapper (mum… yep you guessed it, not a fan), so when it came time to finish school I wanted to do courses in Equine Science etc. (no luck there either).

I was absolutely seen as the “odd one out” in my family as here I was this young kid with this addiction that was contagious. I would always beg and plead my family to have a day out on Melbourne Cup day- we could never afford to go to the races so we would always go to the huge park across the river and I would start up little tipping competitions- my family gave up pretty quickly as I would always win. I was that fascinated by the industry that I taught myself how to read the form guide and from there developed my knowledge over time.

When you win, do you do anything special? Do you go anywhere special that you allocate for winning days?

I always celebrate the wins! That might be either having a bottle (or more) of champagne or I simply might treat myself to some take away. Nowhere special, but it’s something that I try to share with those that support me and my passion obsession.

Anything at all that is unique to you?

Not sure if it is unique to me, however, before every race I am always a ball of nerves- I’m usually fine after the gates open and I know my horse has jumped, the nerves then turn to adrenaline kicking in and hoping that the horse gets around uninjured (I don’t care if they run last as long as they are uninjured- of course love the wins!). Even though I would consider myself a seasoned horse owner, the nerves are always there- even to the point on occasions I have been physically sick and vomited in the mounting yard.

During recent times when I was made redundant from a corporate job I had, I gave the opportunity to sleep in and lounge around (watching trash Tv) to instead go and give the Stable hand life a go. I was fortunate enough to be given an opportunity at James Cummings Racing (before he took on the Godolphin role). As an owner this gave me such a much more deeper appreciation for the Stable Hands and all those involved with the care of our horses, it is not all glorious race days! This is something I suggest that all owners do, or even better those that question the integrity of the industry and the care around the horses- it definitely changes your perspective on things!

Ravi 5

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