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Heidi Whalley keen for new training challenge

2 December 2021

James-Orman.JPGBy Jordan Gerrans

With the grounding of working for a leading Brisbane stable for the last eight years and having a premier jockey in her own house, Heidi Whalley feels she is ready to dip her toes in the training game.

The mother of two had her first starter as an officially licensed trainer last Saturday afternoon at Kilcoy with speedy mare Reachforthestars.

While the Sepoy chestnut could not deliver a maiden victory for Whalley – who is the fiancĂ© of top Brisbane hoop James Orman – her trusted stable rider feels a win is not far away.

While juggling her two children, Whalley had worked for Kelly Schweida around his stable the last eight years, providing a perfect grounding and knowledge to eventually step into training herself.

“I have always been interested in the training, I have loved working for Kelly so when we got this horse, I thought I might as well give training a go and see how it goes,” Whalley said.

“I would work for Kelly in the morning and then do my own horses. We are really good friends and he has taught me a lot. He is happy to share his knowledge, which is always good.”

While also riding her own show jumping horses, Whalley would work at Schweida’s Eagle Farm stable of a morning, as well as strapping on race day, before tending to her own horses.

IMG-6948.JPGOrman, who is leading the state jockeys title with 49 winners so far this season, was a proud fiancé last Saturday afternoon.

“I thought it was great for her,” Orman said.

“She just has the one horse now but if she gets going good with a few horses, you never know what is around the corner, she may get a few more.

“I ride the horse work as much as I can.”

Orman believes Whalley has served an outstanding apprenticeship under Group 1-winning horseman Schweida, providing her with a wealth of knowledge while knowing his horses back to front.

With a three-month-old and a two-year-old in tow, Whalley has not been able to ride her show jumping horses much in recent years, giving her the chance to dabble in training.

“In the last couple of years, I was more interested in getting into the training side of it,” she said.

“Jimmy thought it was a good idea so it was an easy decision.”

Whalley and Orman’s mother - Caroline Allardyce – own the mare Reachforthestars, with Allardyce previously training her for her last four starts, before transferring to the rookie trainer.

The team behind Reachforthestars are hopeful a Class 1 Plate over the quick 800 metres might be Whalley’s first winner as a trainer at Dalby later this month.

“If she can find the right race, she will be hard to beat,” Orman said.

“I will go out there and ride her at Dalby and if she is going to win a race, then that will be the race she will win.

“Hopefully I can get her the first winner of her training career at Dalby. I used to go to Dalby all the time so I know my way around the track.”

Whalley noted that her mare was well up in grade last Saturday at Kilcoy and will be much fitter for the run at Dalby in a few weeks’ time.

Both Whalley and Orman may end up training into the future, but the 24-year-old Orman is still at the top of his game with many more years to go in his riding career.

“Maybe when the kids are older, it would definitely be something that I would like to do,” Whalley said about preparing a bigger stable in the future.

“Jimmy has an interest in it too so maybe when the time comes for him to finish up riding in many years’ time, it might be on the cards for him to train as well.”

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