Horseracing stands amongst a very small group of sports where women and men compete together on equal standing. It seems odd that more isn’t said about this fact or about supporting the female jockeys coming through the ranks.
Carlisle Racecourse has been setting the record straight and for the last four years has held a Girls Only Jockeys event that unsurprisingly is growing in popularity . Whats more interesting is that it is actually unique as it’s the only event in the world where all races are confined to female jockeys. If you add to this that it will also host the 18th leg of the Longines World Fegentri Championships for Lady riders, then it sounds like its not only a unique event, but a spectacle of racing and celebration of female jockeys. The icing on the cake for British spectators will be that Great Britain’s Alice Mills currently lies in third place in the Championship and will be racing on the evening.
Speaking to rising star of the jockey scene, Shelley Birkett about riding on the night she was very clear that this event shows how far female jockeys have come to be able to have a full event dedicated to them. But Shelley also added “it’s a good way to bring up the less experienced girls as well as to give so many up and coming and apprentice jockeys an opportunity is great” she said.
For me this is the key thing, its great to have a ladies only night out but to showcase, provide opportunity and enjoy an event for all female jockeys is whats important and unique.
This event should be supported both locally and internationally and used as a model for more events around the world. I look forward to seeing the success and stature of female jockeys growing as a result.
Ultimate Ladies Night at Carlisle Races on Monday evening 4 August www.carlisle-races.co.uk