Brittany Taylor is someone I personally admire for her love of racing, racing knowledge and sense of style, so I’m very excited to have Brittany as the first person I’ve interviewed as part of The Velvet Court.
Brittany Taylor will be a familiar face for those of you in the racing industry. She is a presenter for Sky Racing and Perth Racing, with you finding her on the back of her horse Jarmies conducting post-race interviews with winning jockeys on Saturday. She is also a MC, TAB Radio and TAB Touch contributor while also being an ambassador for Owners Only.
In the past week alone, it has been announced that Brittany will be a part of the Channel 10 commentary team for the Melbourne Cup carnival and she won “Media Personality” on Saturday night at the WAROA awards night, for the second year in a row, so she’s certainly a busy woman!
I sat down with Brittany (in an online sense) and asked the following questions.
For those that don’t know, how did you get involved in horse racing/what’s your background? Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I have a long family history in racing with my grandma, Lois Taylor being the first female to be granted a trainer’s license here in WA in an era dominated by men. When she first went in to apply to become a trainer she was told – ‘never, never, never.’ They eventually granted her a license and my Dad would become an apprentice jockey to her at just 14. He spent 15 years in the saddle riding locally as well as stints in Asia before retiring after I was born, and taking over the training from his mum.
Funnily enough, growing up my parents did their best to keep me out of racing and encouraged me to pursue other interests. But I began working at the farm on weekends at 12 and haven’t left to this day.
What’s your favourite thing about the races? Do you have a favourite moment/story?
My favourite part of the races is the impact a horse can have on people – particularly those who might need a little boost. Every week, the races produces wonderful stories.
On a personal level, my favourite moment was a low profile Wednesday afternoon at Ascot in a ‘No Metro Win in the Last Year’ race. It was my favourite old boy, New Time, winning at his 100th start. For months we had planned to have him spot on to win first up. I had filmed a little video on day 1 when he came into work saying ‘this is day 1 of operation raise the bat’ – hoping for a win when he reached the tonne. And it happened!
You’ve been known to have a good eye for horses. What do you look for in a winner, both in the mounting yard and when buying shares in a horse?
Both quite different actually. At a yearling sale, I would look at strong, well sized horses who are physically correct with a good walk.
I used to find myself looking at horses in the yard in the same way I would a yearling sale but I don’t think it works because by the time they get to the races, winners seem to come in all shapes and sizes. The little bonny fillies that I thought were ‘too small’ at the sale end up being a Dainty Tess. Horses whose legs aren’t ‘correct’ end up being Misty Metal.
So from a mounting yard perspective I do my best to profile the horses and know what their ‘normal’ is. Everyone is different with what they look at, and if this was always the correct philosophy then I would be rich, but it’s how I enjoy looking at them.
Overall I look at 3 main categories; physical fitness, soundness and attitude. But I think the most important element of that, is profiling.
Horses all have their own personalities – some are more relaxed by nature and some get very excitable on race day so it’s about knowing what is ‘normal’ for the individual.
For example, perhaps a horse like a ‘More Aces’ is sweating up pre race – that’s not a worrying sign of him exerting too much energy. In fact, he’s one of the most relaxed horses I know, he just happens to be one of the most free sweating horses too.
I think each stable tends to have their ‘normal’ as well – for example I place very little emphasis on a horses coat from a ‘country’ stable compared to horses from a city stable. If the Harvey’s, Neville Parnham or Simon Miller’s horses start coming out looking ‘rough’ it’s very unusual and cause for concern. Whereas from a rural base, the horses are more exposed to the elements that it’s not necessarily an indication of their internal health.
The same philosophy applies to a horses fitness level – a Fred Kersley galloper usually strips very fit without a lot of extra weight at all. Whereas say, Gangemi’s – their horses tend to be very strong looking types and carry a bit more condition through the middle and yet still win first up without a trial.
If you can notice the small changes in an individual, it might just help you settle which way you want to bet.
How did you first get involved in the media side of racing and what made you interested in that side of racing?
I’ve always loved media, as a kid I would make documentaries that would make a young Bindi Irwin look unenthusiastic. At my Year 7 graduation we had to answer what we wanted to be when we were older, I said a TV presenter.
I first got involved with the media side of racing very briefly as a roving reporter for Perth Racing on Karrakatta Plate day one year interviewing people and capturing the colour of the day.
Then after I finished university through an hour stint on Tab Radio for the segment ‘Anything Goes.’ I was just giving it a go for a 2-week period before they asked if I’d like to stay on. I was actually so close to saying no because it just made me irrationally nervous. But I said yes and it became a lot easier as time went on!
What tips would you give to someone wishing to pursue a career in racing like yourself? Especially young women who may feel it’s a male dominated industry.
Go for it! It is a wonderful industry to be a part of. I can’t think of anything that transmits the excitement that live sport does and there is something so special about racing and its people.
But be prepared to work hard. I don’t think it matters what role you have in racing, the hours are never going to be luxurious ones. Even if you’re not waking up in the early hours of the morning to work with horses themselves, we race on weekends and public holidays so when friends are having a day off, you’ll often have to work. But it doesn’t feel like work if you love what you do.
In regard to women, I think racing is very unique where in women actually play on a level playing field to men – that goes for jockeys, trainers as well as administrators. It wasn’t always this way so I feel very appreciative to the women who paved the way.
Congratulations on the new job with channel 10! What are you most looking forward to about the job and the Spring Carnival?
I’m most looking forward to capturing the emotion of the Melbourne Cup winning jockey. It is a dream of every jockey to win the Cup. That moment just after they’ve passed the finishing post, could very well be the biggest moment of their life and I want to do that justice.
We’d all love to win the Melbourne Cup, but do you have any other racing dreams?
Naturally we all aim for the big races and it’s a dream of any owner to win a Group 1 but they’re not all that easy to come by! I wouldn’t mind trying to buy a cheap weanling for myself and seeing what it could become! Maybe I’ll do that next year, you’ve inspired me by asking the question.
Another side of racing is the fashion and you always look stunning! Do you have a go-to outfit or item? What are your tips to looking your best on the big carnival days?
When it comes to getting race ready, I am always extremely disorganised and have to throw something together at the last minute so my tip is: be more prepared than me! I always like to wear something quite classy for the races. I think party looks can be saved for the bar but the races require an appropriate length dress and neckline.
Outside of racing, what do you like to do in your free time?
I do love to travel so every year my partner and I try get away to somewhere new in the world. So free time is spent planning the next trip. Japan, Hong Kong and Africa are next on the bucket list!
I can also find myself wasting a lot of time watching Facebook videos of Golden Buzzer moments from talent show auditions! It’s a guilty pleasure.
A big thank you to Brittany for taking the time to answer these questions and I hope you all enjoyed her answers as much as I did!