Professional female jockeys will have the chance to ride for a new “ladies only” championship for the first time this Flat season.

The Lady Jockeys’ Championship, sponsored by information technology business Prolinx, kicks off on the opening day of the Flat season at Doncaster racecourse on 31 March and concludes at the same venue in November.

The championship will be decided by the winners-to-rides ratio in each of three categories – gold, silver and bronze. The gold award first prize, for jockeys riding over 30 winners during the season, is £5,000; the silver award (10-29 winners), £3,000; and the bronze award (1-9 winners), £1,000.

The new championship has been welcomed by leading female jockey Hayley Turner, who rode her first two Group 1 winners last year.

“This is excellent news and it will create a great deal of interest – and make us even more competitive – in the weighing room,” said Hayley.

Paul Struthers, of the Professional Jockeys’ Association, added: “We are thrilled. The move reflects the impact that has been made by female jockeys in recent years and their growing influence in the sport.”