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GEORGINA SERGEON – Back in the saddle with enthusiasm

Observer staff reporter

Friday, February 09, 2018

It was an emotional yet pleasing occasion for jockey Georgina Sergeon as racing's 'First Lady' returned to competitive riding at Caymanas Park on Saturday last after being out of the saddle for almost three years. Sergeon mounted up on Sweet Peppa in the first race for trainer Richard Azan.

Sergeon was warmly greeted by racing fans, some of whom shouted their respect, while others loudly wished her well as she entered the saddling barn area to ride for the first time since 2015, when she took some personal time off from the sport after dealing with injuries.

“Going out there on the racetrack to ride in a competitive race after nearly three years, it was great. I mean, it was a wonderful and amazing feeling for me to be out there in front of so many people.

“I have to admit it…it was a little bit emotional for me because seeing everybody, the loud welcome and congratulations really touched me. I appreciated it a lot as they love me and I love them and I enjoyed it. I got positive feedback…no negative comments,” Sergeon shared.

After being up on the front end in the early part of the Restricted Stakes event over five-and-a-half furlongs (1,100), Sweet Peppa weakened in deep stretch to finish in last position. The race was won by Armageddon with Omar Walker.

“It was a really nice feeling in the saddle for me as all went very well out there. I got a good break and was up in the front, but she ( Sweet Peppa) backed out a bit at the half-mile. I wanted to see what I could have gotten out of her, but she didn't give me what I expected.

“But overall, it is really good to be officially back in the saddle. The task now is to find winners, so I am going to work hard at that and also try to keep healthy and strong,” Sergeon said.

Sergeon is Jamaica's most successful female rider, having ridden 59 winners to date. Other female jockeys who are currently active in the sport include: Andree Powell — a winner of 22 races; Mellisa Ward — 12 wins; and Natalie Berger with five winners so far.

Jamaica's first female rider Azel Cowie, who retired from the sport in 1991, won one race.

“Right now I am about 75 per cent fit — not a 100 yet — but I am getting there slowly but surely. After three years you are going be a bit sore, but I am working on it. The most important thing is that I am back and I am working hard,” affirmed Sergeon.