Sep 14, 2012
Courtesy of The Examiner 14/09/12 - Greg Mansfield. VICTORIAN jockey Rhonda Mangan, who will ride at her first Spreyton meeting on Sunday, is not your average mature-age apprentice.
Mangan is in the third phase of a racing career that began almost 20 years ago and has taken in most aspects of the industry.
She began as an apprentice jockey, but her boss went broke and her apprenticeship lapsed when she couldn't get a placement with another trainer.
For a while, she continued riding trackwork and competed on the picnic race circuit.
But, unhappy with that career path, she hung up her saddle and became a trainer.
''I had stables at Cranbourne and at times had 15 to 20 horses in work,'' Mangan explained yesterday.
Her best horses included Datari, who won five races in Melbourne; Terouge, a four-time winner at Moonee Valley; and Errol, who won at Flemington.
Datari also ran second in the listed Duke Of Norfolk Stakes.
In 2010, Mangan decided she wanted to have another crack at becoming a professional jockey, so she downgraded her open trainer's licence and returned to the picnic race circuit.
''My weight had gone up to 75 kilograms while I wasn't riding, so I had to get fit again,'' she said.
''I started riding a lot of trackwork at Flemington, for (trainers) Mark Kavanagh, Steve Richards, Tommy Hughes and a few others.
''But I couldn't get in anywhere as an apprentice so that's why I came to Tasmania.''
Mangan is now apprenticed to the state's leading trainers David and Scott Brunton.
''I came over with my partner Grant Challinger (also a jockey) and we've settled here,'' she said.
''I can be an apprentice for another three years so I intend to put in a lot of hard work and try to make a go of it.''
Mangan's best ride at Spreyton is the Brunton-trained There Were Roses in the Sportsbet Benchmark 78 Handicap.