Meet glamorous Australian jockey Kathy O'Hara… who battled 'appalling' mobile phone addiction

GLAMOROUS jockey Kathy O'Hara battled back from an 'appalling' mobile phone addiction to return to the top of her sport.

Most of us think nothing of picking up our device to respond to texts, check social media or reply to an email.

Those little computers that live in our pockets or next to us as we sleep are part of everyday life.


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But for O'Hara, her screen time turned to scream time after she was banned for using her phone on race days.

Chiefs initially handed out a three-month suspension in September 2019 after she was found to have used her phone 65 times.

She had previously been sanctioned for the same offence four times in 15 years.

Jockeys are not allowed to use phones on race days as bosses fear doing so could be used to pass on insider information or place bets.

O'Hara confessed to repeatedly using her phone but said she did so to contact her partner and check in with family and friends.

Asked at the time why she broke the rules, she said: "I can't give an explanation.

"There's nothing sinister in it. I know it's something I shouldn't do. It's appalling how much I use it."

O'Hara's ban was eventually reduced to five weeks and she went to counselling to cure her addiction.

Her lawyer, Wayne Pasterfield, said: "Kathy has an addiction to her mobile phone like a lot of young people and she has taken measures to address it."

O'Hara, 34, now looks to have truly overcome her phone addiction and resumed her quest for 1,000 winners.

She has 961 at the time of writing, with two Group One wins and more than £20million won in prize money since her first race in 2002.

But those victories have not come without something every jockey must battle – falls.

It was near the end of 2016 when a horse landed directly on top of her after somersaulting through the air.

A post shared by Kathy Ohara (@kathy_ohara)

A post shared by Kathy Ohara (@kathy_ohara)

A post shared by Kathy Ohara (@kathy_ohara)

O'Hara was out for months after sustaining a collapsed lung, dislocated clavicle, two broken ribs and a 'massive' concussion.

But she recovered from that much like she did the phone addiction and at the end of last year even picked up the nickname 'Miss Consistency' for how often she was first past the post.

But even more important than that is her grounbreaking work in paving the way for female riders in Sydney.

For years she was the only woman riding regularly against the men.

But her success has inspired others to end the 'stigma'.

She said: "There is that stigma that goes with being a female jockey.

"But it has changed a lot over my career which is good to see.

"I think it is getting easier for the girls now, it is much different to when I started and hopefully one day it won’t even be a discussion."


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