Great British Racing launches '#JustJockeys' campaign to mark International Women's Day

15:41pm, Wed 04 Mar 2020
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Don't call us female jockeys, we're simply jockeys - that's the message behind a new campaign launched today by Great British Racing.

And it comes as new statistics show the huge strides made by women in horseracing over the last five years.

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From 2015-2019 there has been a 76 per cent increase in winners ridden by women across both jump and flat racing.

In addition, there has been a 26 per cent rise in women holding a professional jockey licence.

Flat jockey Hollie Doyle, 23, who last year broke the record for the most wins by a woman in a calendar year, with 116 first-past-the-post's, was at the launch of the #JustJockeys campaign in London.

Doyle broke the record for the most amount of race wins for a woman within the sport last year (PA Images)

She said: "The tide is turning, I've been a jockey with a licence for seven years now and when I was first starting out there were only two female jockeys and now I walk in and there are at least ten riding on a daily basis.

"I think the difference is women didn't want to be professional jockeys whereas now with what Hayley [Turner], Rachel Blackmore and other female riders have done. I think people have a realisation that you can do it and there are opportunities. I think it's going the right way.

"#JustJockeys recognises that all jockeys have the same skills and are equally as driven."

Trainer Amy Murphy added: "Jockeys 40 years ago were predominantly male and now in terms of trainer and work place and being based in Newmarket, it's now predominantly women. 

"Where I'm based two out of three are women riding out, so we have a sport that's growing, and now we are at a place where we need to start calling them jockeys, trainers, whatever they may be. 

"Everyone is on a level playing field, it's a time thing, we are now at a point where [female jockey terminology] needs to stop being a thing."

Last year saw a series of landmarks for women in horseracing. Bryony Frost became the first woman to win a Grade 1 race at the Cheltenham Festival, while flat jockey Hayley Turner was the first woman to ride a winner at Royal Ascot in 32 years.

Khadijah Mellah also made history when she became the first British Muslim woman to win a race in the Magnolia Cup charity race at Goodwood.

She said at today's launch: "Within racing, between the jockeys themselves everyone is seen as being equal but in terms of headlines it's good to have a strong female figurehead in public view.

"It did mean that young women messaged me and were inspired by me. For me personally, that was a positive, any way of inspiring young women is a great positive."

#JustJockeys is launched to celebrate International Women's Day on Sunday, when Southwell racecourse marks the occasion with an all-female racecard.