RACING ROYALTY: Meeting Michelle Payne has inspired Courtney Bellamy to follow her dream.
RACING ROYALTY: Meeting Michelle Payne has inspired Courtney Bellamy to follow her dream. Trevor Veale

Racing dynasty

IF any young lady has the blue bloodlines to succeed in the racing industry it's 15-year-old Courtney Bellamy.

Her late grandfather, Kevin, was an Australian pioneer of racehorse syndication and dad, Brett, has remained Coffs Harbour's champion trainer for three decades.

Meeting Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Michelle Payne at The Coffs Coast Advocate's Harbour Club has made Courtney more determined than ever to forge a race riding career and she's already off to a flying start.

"While she's still quite young she has the work ethic needed to make it in a tough business after showing interest early," Brett said.

"Every morning before school she's out of bed to come to work with me at the stable and help out with anything that needs doing around the place.

"Then she'll ride horses like Star Fest or Zuccerina at the beach or on the track before getting on with the rest of the day."

So, how do mum and dad feel about a third generation entering the racing game, particularly in a career which is not just competitive but has its dangers?

"Mum's a bit cautious but dad's okay," the trainer said.

"It's what she wants to do.

"Courtney doesn't turn 16 until September and while I'm not sure how old she needs to be before signing apprenticeship papers, time is on her side.

"It could be the end of the year when she starts out but even while she's at school there's plenty to learn from the racing skills course she is studying.

"We are very proud of her."

It's likely Courtney will lead around dad's horse Star Fest in the parade before the feature Whitby Bloodstock Ken Howard Cup (2000m) and Uncanny Effort if it beats the ballot in the Benchmark 58.

Who knows?

One day like Michelle, Courtney may become the toast of the nation on that fabulous first Tuesday in November.



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