McEwen hopes to fulfil promise
03 Jul 2012 | Over a decade ago a jockey made a promise; a promise to win a race.
It might seem rudimentary, pedestrian even, for a jockey to promise to win a race – but not this one.
13 years ago, Racing NSW employee Kris McEwen suffered a fatal asthma attack after a transfer to Mungindi, situated on the border of NSW and Queensland.
His fiancée Kayla had only recently given birth to their daughter Elisha, and had elected to stay in Sydney until they could find a suitable property to live in.
Kris died just two months before the couple’s wedding day and Kayla vowed to her daughter that she would win the Mungindi Cup for her and Kris.
Last year Kayla attempted to make good on that promise.
Unfortunately, there was no fairy-tale ending for Kayla McEwen in Mungindi last year.
After riding the winner prior to the Mungindi Cup, Kayla was thrown off her mount as it attempted to jump the outside fence rendering her unconscious.
Kayla didn’t ride in the Cup.
It might seem like déjà vu, but McEwen who is based at Bega, will make the 1500km journey again this week with her daughter Elisha who was just six months old when Kris died.
“Elisha has always had this great sense of humour, but when I was knocked off last year at Mungindi she was scared, because of the significance I think," McEwen said.
“I was thrown from a horse at Cooma once and was knocked unconscious and the first thing I remember is the paramedic saying ‘she’s coming too, but she looks confused.’
“Then I see Elisha’s head bob up and she says ‘well you don’t know mummy very well then, she’s always confused.’
“Once I win the Cup I think she’ll be alright.”
McEwen will ride the Len Bryant trained Sinful Warrior in the Mungindi Cup this year and she likes her chances.
“He’s one of the best horses that will be going around in the race and I wouldn’t be surprised if he started as the favourite,” she said.
Whether she wins or loses – a few things are certain; McEwan’s sheer determination and strength is a testament to her character; and, without a doubt she will have the whole town of Mungindi cheering her on to make good on that promise.
And when Sinful Warrior loads into the gates and the barriers crash back, Kayla won’t be riding by herself; she’ll have Elisha with her – and Kris too.