Three years after jockey Simone Montgomerie died from a fall in a Darwin Cup Day race, her young daughter Kodah was on the same track to hand the National Jockeys Trust a cheque from a fundraising bike ride in honour of the fallen rider.
Kodah was only five-years-old when her mum, Darwin’s first female premiership-winning jockey, was thrown from her mount Riahgrand in the Lightning Plate (1000m) on August 5, 2013.
In the lead-up to the third anniversary of the 26-year-old’s death a group of cyclists, including Montgomerie’s father Peter and sister Brooke, embarked on a 3000km journey from her home town of Streaky Bay up to Darwin to raise money.
Kodah went along for the ride too, albeit in a car, and was in Darwin on Monday to present a $260,000 cheque to the National Jockeys Trust which supports seriously injured riders and their families, including herself.
“They were so supportive of her and they are to this day,” Leanne Montgomerie, Kodah’s grandmother, told Sky Thoroughbred Central.
Former star apprentice jockey Scott Leckey, whose career was cut short after he suffered brain damage in a 2007 fall at the same track where Montgomerie fell, rode the final two days of the journey.
Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Michelle Payne joined the Cycling for Simone team for the last leg as it rolled into Darwin on Friday.
Two months ago she was in hospital recovering from abdominal surgery following a race fall at Mildura.
“I’ve been lucky enough in my career, despite having some bad injuries, that I haven’t needed the help of the Trust,” Payne said.
“But I know a lot of the jockeys that I ride against in Victoria that haven’t been as lucky as me and I know that the Trust has helped them no end.”
“It’s a very special and very important fund that we need.”
The cheque was presented to National Jockeys Trust manager Des O’Keeffe after Race Two – the Montgomerie Lightning Plate, named in honour of Simone.