Keagan Latham has one ride in the provincials on Saturday, yet pending the result, he may be trending on twitter by the time it’s over.
It’d be a fair turnaround following a week of little-to-no exposure. That exposure of course, taken by the horse he’s riding.
“Ah, Horsey McHorseface, I have seen a bit written about him,” he said.
“He is my only ride for Saturday; I’m just looking to keep my strike rate up hey.”
It’s those cheeky quips that make you think Latham and the humorously named, Bjorn Baker-trained ‘McHorseface’ might just make a good team.
The disappointing part however, is that it may be short lived.
Durban-born Latham is one of thousands of industry participants in Australia, whose future is in the hands on the Federal Government.
Caption: Keagan Latham (Pic: Dynamic Syndications)
“At the moment I’m on a one-year working holiday visa,” he told G1X.com.au.
“I was planning on staying longer, but unfortunately with the news of the abolishment to the 457 visa, things are all up in the air. I’m going to have to wait and see what happens in the next few months.”
Latham’s feelings towards Australia echo that of others who have travelled down under to work in the industry.
In his words, “The races are incredible, the people are generous, the city vibe is awesome, and I just love going to the beaches.”
That same appreciation he has for his working life; a stint with Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott beginning four months ago, after four years in Ireland and two in England.
“I absolutely love riding for Gai, she’s not a Hall of Fame trainer for nothing… (and) Adrian’s such a gentleman,” he said.
“I got my jockeys licence a month ago. I rode a winner on my first day; Gai put me on and I was lucky enough that the horse (Savapinski) won.”
And then there’s the camaraderie with several jockeys, including Johan Victoire who he lives with, and fellow South African-born jockey Glyn Schofield, who he… almost lives with.
“I’m at Glyn’s house every second weekend,” he said.
“He was still riding in South Africa when I was an apprentice there and I used to go over to his house for a barbeque, so I’m quite close to Glyn.”
A maiden city ride is “most definitely the next aim,” for Latham, who so far hasn’t taken any of his opportunities for granted.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have a number of country and provincial trainers that have taken a lot of interest in me and I can’t thank them enough,” he said.
That gratitude and humility of course, a common theme amongst many overseas equine lovers that have come to our shores to work.
Latham hopeful his journey in Australia can continue successfully, not just on Saturday, but well into the future.
“I’ve absolutely fallen in love with Australia,” he said. “I wished I’d come a lot sooner, so let’s just hope I can stay.”