It's only natural that Talia Rodder is a little apprehensive about her return to race riding...


It’s only natural that Talia Rodder is a little apprehensive about her return to race riding, which will take place at Kilmore this Saturday.

The pioneer jockey will have her first race ride in almost a year when she partners Ally The Great in the 0-58 Handicap (1612m), but her biggest concern is not whether she will remember what to do once the gates crash back.

“That doesn’t worry me at all,” she said. “What worries me more is who’s going to look after my child!”

Rodder is just a couple of days away from becoming one of the rare female jockeys to resume their career after having a baby. The 30-year-old has not participated in a race since June last year, when she discovered she was pregnant with son Matan, who was born on 4 January.

Rodder is loving motherhood, but it has also emphasised how much riding means to her. She knew very early in the journey that she was going to attempt to add to her career winners tally, which stands at almost 150.

Rodder took her first step towards a return in early March at Lindsay Park’s Flemington stable, where she eased back into things under the guidance of David Hayes’s foreperson Lizzie Jelfs, who had given birth just a few months earlier.

That valuable two-week stint at Lindsay Park was followed by a fortnight holiday in her native Israel after which she started work at John Sadler’s Malua Racing, where she rides work six days a week.

Rodder started riding jumpouts at Flemington in early April and quickly graduated to trials and now feels she is ready for a return to race riding.

“I definitely knew what I was getting myself into (regarding a comeback), but still it was harder than what I expected,” Rodder, who will ride at today’s Kyneton jumpouts, said.

“To reintroduce all the muscles back into that sort of fitness has taken longer than I thought it would.”

Rodder is grateful for Saturday’s opportunity, which has been provided by Ally The Great’s trainer Peter Gelagotis, who along with Sadler, Hayes and Leon Corstens have been key figures in her return.

“I said to Peter that I needed a ride to come back with and he said, ‘no worries, come jump one out and you can ride it’,” Rodder said.

“She (Ally The Great) is first up over a mile, which might be a bit short, but at the same time they won’t be running her off feet. I’m expecting her to be competitive.”

And with a big support team expected on hand to witness her return, it shouldn’t be too hard to find someone to look after Matan for half an hour.