We had a lovely morning in Ballarat on Friday to announce the partnership between Racing Victoria, the Victorian Government and Tabcorp on Ride Like A Girl. It was great to talk about the film and also to catch up with my old friend, Prince of Penzance.
With just one month to go now until filming starts on the movie, the excitement is really starting to build. Hopefully it’s going to inspire a lot of young girls to chase their dreams, not just in horse racing but in every walk of life. It’s definitely getting easier for women everywhere to show that they’re just as capable as men, whatever they choose to do with their lives. We just need the opportunities to prove ourselves.
Growing up, my Dad Paddy always taught me that girls were just as good as boys, and that if you work hard, anything is possible. In a house of ten children, I learned from an early age that if you wanted anything, you really had to fight for it! At times it was a tough upbringing, but I wouldn’t change it for the world because it taught me to stand on my own two feet and was a good grounding for life as a jockey, because racing can be a very tough industry.
Dad’s pretty stoked that Sam Neill is playing him in the film. He doesn’t give too much away, but I could tell he was a little bit excited when he found out the news. Sam’s going to spend some time with Dad to get to know him better, and I’m sure he’ll do a great job of capturing his personality.
When it came to casting my brother Stevie, who was Prince of Penzance’s strapper, there was only one man for the job – and that was Stevie himself. Like my Dad, Stevie doesn’t really show too much emotion, but I think he’s pretty pleased to be a part it. He’s taking the role seriously, he’s lost about 10kg in weight and looks like a real movie star! Because he’s playing himself, there’s no need to take acting classes or change anything. I know (director) Rachel Griffiths was really pleased with his audition, so I’m sure he’s going to be great. It’s going to be an amazing journey from him and I’m going to be such a proud sister when I watch his scenes, because his personality will shine through.
Making my life story into a film wasn’t something I ever imagined happening, or actively looked for. I’m quite a private person and prefer to keep my head down and work hard. But after speaking with Rachel I was really happy with what they had come up with. Like anyone, I’ve had ups and downs in my life, and it hasn’t always been smooth sailing. But if you keep battling and stay true to who you are and what you believe in, you’ll get your rewards. That’s the message we all want to come across in the film.
I haven’t really got involved too much in the film, because I prefer to take a step back and leave it to the experts. Rachel and her producer, Richard Keddie, have both been great, they’ve been in the film industry a long time so they know exactly what they’re doing. And besides, I think I’ve probably got enough on my plate with a stable of horses to run!