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Is it a man’s world? How women are making their mark on racing


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  • Look at the start list for any of the three Olympic equestrian disciplines and men and women appear to be on equal footing. The same can’t be said for a racecard, but over the past 45 years there have been some major milestones for female jockeys.

    On the eve of International Women’s Day (8 March 2017), and with the launch of The Silk Series —  a pioneering new £100,000 race series for female jockeys — we celebrate some of the big moments.

    1972
    The first ever race for female jockeys took place at Kempton Park, and was won by Meriel Tufnell.

    1972
    Meriel Tufnell became Britain’s first female Champion Jockey.

    1973
    Meriel Tufnell became European female Champion Jockey.

    1976
    Diana Thorne became the first woman to ride a winner under National Hunt rules.

    1982
    Geraldine Rees became the first female jockey to complete in the Grand National, finishing eighth on Cheers.

    1987
    Gee Armytage became the first female jockey to win at the Cheltenham Festival winning the Kim Muir Challenge Cup and Mildmay of Flete Challenge Cup in the same year.

    1987
    Gay Kelleway was the first woman to win at Royal Ascot on board Sprowston Boy in the Queen Alexandra Stakes.

    1993
    Julie Krone was the first female jockey to win an American Classic at the Breeders’ Cup on board Colonial Affair in the Belmont Stakes.

    1997
    Alex Greaves became  the first woman to win a Group One, when dead-heating in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York on board Ya Malak.

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    2008
    Hayley Turner (pictured above) became the first woman to ride 100 winners in the UK.

    2011
    Fourteen years after Alex Greaves’ success, Hayley Turner became only the second women to win a Group One on board Dream Ahead in the Darley July Cup at Newmarket.

    2011
    Carlisle Racecourse hosted the first ever race meeting solely for female jockeys.

    2012
    Katie Walsh finished third in the Grand National  on Seabass, giving her the highest finish for a female competitor.

    2015
    The Girls team claimed its first victory in The Shergar Cup at Ascot Racecourse and Sammy-Jo Bell won the Silver Saddle as the leading jockey at the race meeting.

    2015
    Michelle Payne became the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup in Australia on board Prince of Penzance, at odds of 100/1.

    2015
    Lizzie Kelly became the first female jockey to win a Grade One over jumps riding Tea For Two to victory in the Feltham Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day.

    2017
    ARC launch The Silk Series – a pioneering new £100,000 race series for female jockeys.

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