A new racing series for women jockeys to take place next year has a minimum prize fund of £100,000.

Arena Racing Company (ARC) said it is “delighted” to introduce its Silk Series, which is open to professionals and amateurs.

Female riders will be able to take part in races at nine ladies’ days at different ARC racecourses next year as part of the initiative, which will also raise funds for Cancer Research UK.

ARC group director of partnerships David Leyden Dunbar said: “We believe the creation of the Silk Series will provide an excellent platform for the UK’s very best female jockeys to showcase their talents, while raising funds and awareness for Cancer Research UK.”

The leading jockey at the end of the series will be awarded the Tufnell Trophy in memory of Meriel Tufnell MBE, who was the first British female champion jockey in 1972, a feat she repeated in 1973.

A spokesman for the series said money from every ticket sold for the series would be donated to Cancer Research. “The partnership is particularly poignant given Meriel Tufnell MBE died of cancer aged 53 in October 2002,” he added.

Meriel’s brother Wynne Tufnell said: “Meriel would be delighted to know that her name and memory is to be linked with the Silk Series.

“She was a pioneer in everything she did and she would welcome the new opportunities this initiative provides for female jockeys.

“As her family we look forward to presenting the winning female jockey with the Tufnell Trophy next September.”

The first race will take place at Lingfield Park on 12 May; the last on 14 September at Doncaster.

Races will be run over a variety of distances, and points awarded to participating jockeys for wins and placings. The Tufnell Trophy will be won by the jockey with the most points from the nine races.

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Amateur jockey Hayley Moore (pictured) said: “This will be a great boost to the opportunities available to female amateur jockeys.

“It is always positive to have a chance to race against professional jockeys for good prize money on racedays with big crowds.

“I very much hope to have the chance to ride in several of the races and even have a go at competing for the Tufnell Trophy.”