“OFF with the training wheels now, so I guess the hard work begins!” said newly-fledged professional jockey Ellen Hennessy, based in Sydney.

The former Kildare Pony Club member started off with mounted games, both with her local branch and the Mounted Games Association of Ireland (MGAI), while Ellen also hunted and competed in show jumping and eventing.

She moved to Australia in 2016 after completing the RACE Academy trainee jockey course in Kildare and a year spent as an apprentice with Kevin Prendergast at the Curragh.

Ellen started race riding there in November 2019 and rode the double that brought her over the 100 winners mark at Kembla Grange on Tuesday, winning on Tempestas, trained by Paul and Martha Cave at Warwick Farm and Jamberoo, trained by Diane Poidevin Laine at Kembla Grange.

“From the first of February, she’s a fully fledged pro!” her delighted mother Martine told The Irish Field this week. Last year Martine and husband Paul flew Down Under to visit Ellen for a memorable trip.

“It means a lot, going pro. Obviously I would have liked to have had a bit more time and achieved a lot more during my apprenticeship but I feel like I’ve given it as good a go as I possibly could. I’ve accomplished most of the things I wanted to do,” their daughter said.

“It’s very, very competitive in Sydney, hopefully I’ll be kept busy tipping away in Sydney and the country. I can’t thank enough all the trainers and owners that have backed me from the very beginning and pumped up my tyres when I needed it too.”