‘Each time I passed a horse on the gallops, they charged me a tenner’: Magnolia Cup jockeys prepare for Goodwood

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  • The 12 gutsy women going head-to-head in this year’s Magnolia Cup (Thursday, 1 August) at the Qatar Goodwood Festival are in the final stages of their charity race preparation with just six weeks go.

    The ladies recently spent a day in Newmarket being put through various fitness tests — both on and off the horse — in order to secure their place in the prestigious race.

    The line up comprises faces from the worlds of business, sport, fashion, music and media, including model Vogue Williams, ex-Apprentice star Luisa Zissman and former Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton.

    Each rider has been working on their fitness and riding technique on the build up to Goodwood, while also riding out at trainers’ yards in the mornings.

    “My first taste of riding came at 11 years of age, but I’ve hardly done any since,” says Vogue. “Under the guidance of trainer Jim Boyle my confidence has developed — he has taught me about control and pace.

    “Every time I passed a horse on the gallops going too fast, the girls charged me a tenner as a joke, so I learnt very quickly about the required control and balance. I’ve definitely caught the racing bug,” she adds. “Riding horses challenges a completely different set of muscle groups, which is very difficult to train for in a gym.”

    Retail entrepreneur Luisa says: “All the ladies taking part are so supportive of one another and it has spurred me on. The whole experience has involved a huge amount of commitment — I’m hugely competitive and will be looking to win.”

    This year, Greek designer Mary Katrantzou will design the elaborate silks worn by the jockeys in the Magnolia Cup.

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    The 12 ladies taking part are:

    Alexis Green (BBC weather presenter)

    Georgia Connolly (ambassador for the Victoria Racing Club)

    Kate Grover (executive assistant at MW&L Capital Partners Ltd)

    Khadijah Mellah (member of Ebony Horse Club)

    Kitty Trice (Racing Post journalist)

    Luisa Zissman (Retail entrepreneur and reality TV star)

    Rachael Gowland (British European Breeders Fund marketing communications manager)

    Rosie Tapner (model and presenter)

    Sophie Van Der Merwe (professional event rider)

    Valeria Holinger (skikjöring racer and Head Switzerland marketing assistant)

    Victoria Pendleton (Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist)

    Vogue Williams (TV presenter and model)

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