Horse racing is a sport that has been dominated by male jockeys ever since it began. Over the last couple of decades though, more women have been given opportunities - whether that is as a jockey, trainer or a stable staff member.
Here is a look at three women who have played an instrumental part in proving that female jockeys can match their male counterparts and have success on the track.
Hayley Turner is one of the most decorated British female jockeys of all time. She has been racing in the UK since 2000 and has racked up over 700 winners in that timespan. The success Turner has had on the racecourse has inspired a whole new generation of young female riders who want to follow in her footsteps. Turner rode over 100 winners in a single year in 2008, and she was the first-ever female jockey to do so. She had success in the Group One July Cup in 2011 on board Dream Ahead, while just weeks later she landed her second victory at the highest level in the Nunthorpe Stakes with Margot Did at York. The British jockey captained the women’s team at the Shergar Cup earlier this summer where she won the Silver Medal for the most winners at the meeting for the second consecutive year. Turner continues to have success on the track and is expected to be back riding in 2020. You can find free horse racing tips on many of the meetings she is involved in, including the Royal Ascot, which takes place annually in June.
Australian Michelle Payne produced one of the biggest sporting headlines of the year in 2015 when she won the ‘race which stops a nation’, the Melbourne Cup with Prince of Penzance, becoming the first female jockey to achieve that. The horse went into the 3200-metre contest as a 100/1 shot. Therefore, it was a remarkable achievement for everyone connected to the winner. Payne was only the fourth female jockey to even ride in the race which now attracts horses from all over the world. In fact, she even used her victory speech to encourage more women to get involved in the sport.
In 2016, Nanako Fujita became the first female jockey to be granted a licence by the Japan Racing Association in 16 years. Since then, she has gone from strength to strength in the sport. In 2018 she became the most successful female jockey in history in Japan when she recorded her 35
th winner of the year. She was fifth on board Copano Kicking in the 2019 G1 February Stakes at Tokyo, while she appeared at the Women Jockeys’ World Cup at Bro Park in Stockholm back in June where she ended the meeting as the leafing jockey. The Japanese rider was invited to feature at the Shergar Cup at Ascot in 2019 alongside Turner and Jamie Kah. Given the trust now placed in her by many owners in Japan, Fujita is sure to continue her fantastic rise in the sport.
With the sport doing everything it can to encourage women riders to participate, there could be even more history made in 2020 - not just with the above three female jockeys either.