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Wishart fighting in career best touch on and off track

D85-0609.jpgBy Jordan Gerrans 

Madeleine Wishart thinks there is no coincidence between a career-best victory in the saddle and her 10-week extensive boxing training program.

The Toowoomba-based apprentice is one of the talented jockeys who will make their boxing debuts this Saturday evening as part of the “Fight For a Cause” concept.

Before starting the boxing training, Wishart was on the comeback trail from a serious injury and even admitted she was not as focused and committed to her riding as she should have been.

Just a few months on, Wishart has her first Listed race win under her belt with her weight at the lowest it has been at some time, leading to greater opportunities with new stables in the metropolitan area.

On top of her boxing program at Northside Boxing in Nundah, Wishart, who is completing her apprenticeship with Kevin Kemp on the Darling Downs, is also taking part in Muay Thai training in Toowoomba.

The 23-year-old is seeing benefits in her own career, as well as other riders who are taking part in the program.

“You can see the difference, Ryan Maloney is riding great and is getting his weight down,” Wishart said.

“It has been a great program for all of us.

“We saw him ride Isotope light last week, he has been working his but off.

“It is great getting all the jockeys together, for the fitness and to come together like we are.”

Wishart battled to get down to ride at 51kgs before her injury lay-off late last year and now says she walks around at 51kgs “no worries”, with her weight going “awesome”.

“I have been going great and a lot of that comes along with the fitness,” she said.

“I am feeling much more motivated than what I was before.

“I am starting to ride for different trainers, I have been getting consistent winners every week and that comes a lot from the fitness.”

Toowoomba trainer Kemp, who Wishart is finishing her apprenticeship with, thinks she is riding as well as she has in her career of late. 

"She is going lovely, riding plenty of winners for us and for everyone else, including that Listed race on the Gold Coast a few weeks ago," Kemp said.

"She is going dynamite, everything is good."

Wishart will step into the ring as part of the “Fight For a Cause” concept, which pits jockeys against each other, raising much needed funds for charity, while providing everyday people the experience of stepping into a boxing ring in front of a packed arena.

Fight For a Cause has partnered with the Mental Awareness Foundation, who support charities that are working directly with communities who are implementing strategies to raise awareness of depression and mental illness, while supporting the preservation of life.

Madeleine Wishart Next Racing

DSC-0169.jpgFormer Australian professional boxer Corey McConnell has trained the group of jockeys over the last couple of months and thinks Wishart has progressed since they started.

“Maddy is really good, she is only tiny, but she throws some really lovely punches,” McConnell said.

“Every now and again she can get a little wild and throw her right hand that can open her up, but generally she goes really well.

“She boxes fantastic, she has good feet, timing, and balance.

“I think she will go really well in the ring.”

When first sparring with other jockeys, Wishart says she was a little nervous at first but has built her confidence over time as her technique has improved.

McConnell, who these days trains jockeys and other racing participants to keep their fitness up, on top of riding track work himself, takes pride in that his training program is leading to positive results for Wishart, Maloney and the rest of the contingent.

“They are quite tricky to work with, they do not have a set program as there is some days, they ride light and then heavy the next,” McConnell said.

“Some days they use it to get weight off, or they may have a few days off so we can work on their strength.

“The feedback we have received about their weight is great.”

Fight For a Cause is a program is designed for people with little or no boxing experience and will include jockeys and regular everyday people.

The amateur fights will be held as a black tie dinner event hosted at the Royal International Convention Centre at RNA Showgrounds on Saturday April 24.