Emma-Jayne Wilson was thrilled to be back at Ascot for the Shergar Cup, laughing and joking for the TV cameras with team members Hayley Turner and compatriot Chantal Sutherland.
Yet behind the smiles and genial persona is a woman fearing for her future as a jockey.
Back home in Canada, an issue over funding threatens the closure of all thoroughbred racecourses in Ontario, including the most famous track of them all, Woodbine.
The provincial government has decided to stop all slot machine operations at racecourses, cutting off the main source of prize-money. It has put the future of the sport in serious jeopardy.
“What we’re talking about is the potential death of horseracing,” says Wilson, whose rise to the top has garnered two Woodbine riders’ titles and a Canadian Classic.
“Woodbine is a beacon for our horseracing – I grew up with the track in my back yard. It’s internationally renowned. The possibility of having that go… I can’t even think about it.”
Yet she has been forced to think about it and the possibility of having to leave her home in order to continue riding.
“I’ve toyed with a few ideas – I could pack up and go somewhere else. Would I be happy to do that? No. But that may have to be the sacrifice.”
For the full interview see the September issue of Thoroughbred Owner & Breeder