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A conversation with: Sairyn Fawke

Some people dislike nicknames bestowed upon them – but not Sairyn Fawke.

Sairyn, 30, was christened “The Fawkelift” by’s Terry McAuliffe and – true to his laissez-faire attitude to most things – the SA jockey is happy enough with the moniker.

“Terry’s really good and that nickname has actually help me build my brand a bit,” Fawke says.

“I hear it everywhere I go – when I went up to the Northern Territory, and even people from home in Queensland.

“At pubs and that, punters sort of know me as The Fawkelift. They say, ‘Hey, Fawkelift’.

“I don’t mind it at all – in fact I like it.”

Sairyn – who loves cheesecake and pizza – moved from Brisbane to South Australia in December 2016, initially to take up an apprenticeship with local trainer Tony McEvoy.

He has since cemented his spot in the local riding ranks, and also his reputation as a likeable, easygoing bloke, unafraid to poke fun at himself. This was evidenced a few years back when answering an interviewer’s query whether he could “do the laundry or any other house duties?”.

“Yeah, I wash my own clothes (and) I keep the place clean,” he said.

“I am really good at cuddles as well – if there are any women out there looking.”

TRSA recently sat down for a chat with Sairyn, not long after he was the sole winning male jockey at a Saturday Morphettville meeting.


Q: G’day Sairyn, thanks for chatting today.

SF: No problem.


Q: At Morphettville the other Saturday, you were the only male winner?

Well, someone’s got to hold the fort.


Q: Going into race seven, were you aware that the first six were all female jockeys?

No, I didn’t really take notice, until someone told me after the race. But the female riders are pretty good now. I reminded the jockeys. I said, “C’mon boys, I need a bit of help here”.


Q. And it took old Flow Meter to do the job?

If every owner could have a horse like him who tries 110 per cent every time, they’d be laughing.


Q. So, you’re enjoying your riding at the moment?

I’m loving it. I’m riding work every day, down here at Murray Bridge for Johnny (Hickmott), and if anyone wants me to jump on one here and there, I’ll do it.


Q. John’s a good boss?

He’s one of a kind. He’s a typical old bushy. If you do the work, he’ll look after you.


Q. That ride at Gawler recently when you almost fell, but managed to hang on, then win the race, that must have been scary?

It was a buzz afterwards, but at the time, I actually wasn’t thinking about nearly coming down. I was more embarrassed about clipping heels, because I was just bolting.

But I clicked it up and it just kept going, and it won.


Q. I think the next meeting at Gawler you were riding a horse that played up in the mounting yard before the race, but you didn’t seem too fussed? You always seem to have a smile on your face?

Yeah, I try to. Around that time I actually got votes in the Mouwadi Medal or the Mouawad Medal (on’s Get On program), whatever it is?


Q. Mouawad Medal, yeah.

It’s a bit of fun. Everyone’s knows my sort of personality. I’m fun and outgoing, always bubbly.


Q. How long have you been in SA?

I came in December 2016. I took a leap of faith and just stepped out. I was apprenticed to Johnny Meagher in Queensland and I had a bad race fall up there, at Rockhampton.

I was actually flying as an apprentice, up there. I rode 100 winners in my first two seasons of riding.

I was transitioning to come to town, then I had that fall. I was off for a good year and it took me a while to get some momentum going.

Then a friend asked Tony McEvoy if he was looking for an apprentice and he said he’d keep me in mind.

I think I rode four winners that week, two winners on the Wednesday and two winners on the Sunday, I reckon, and then Tony asked me to come down.


Q. And the rest is history, eh?

Yeah, the rest is history. I started doing a bit of work for Mr Hickmott, and he liked the way that I’m very strong and aggressive and sometimes that’s good for his horses if they need hard work.


Q. So South Australia is your home now?

Yeah, definitely. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m enjoying work and people seem to know me, which I don’t mind.


Q. What’s been your biggest win so far, Sairyn?

My biggest thrill was probably when I won a race at Flemington for Tony McEvoy on Kourkan.


Q. Have you ridden in any Group 1s?

I’ve ridden in one, but it was a 150/1 shot.

But like I said, I’m happy to stick with Johnny. He’s got horses coming through, and it only takes one horse to make something of you.


Q. Who’s your best mate in the jockey ranks?

Probably Jake Toeroek. We’re best mates.


Q. And you’ve had Nadia Horne, who’s also a form analyst for RadioTAB, as your manager for a bit?

Nadia Horne’s been my manager for a fair while now, since my transition to a senior jockey.

She’s been really good. She’s easy to talk to.


Q. Thanks for your time today.

No worries at all. Have a good one.


Note: Sairyn sustained bleeding on the brain, a fractured skull, collapses lung and two broken ribs in his Rockhampton race fall.

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