GB: Girls to the front – Southwell to host all-female racecard

Trainer Gay Kelleway (centre) with jockeys (left to right) Rhona Pindar, Josephine Gordon, Ella McCain, Gemma Tutty, Nicola Currie and Hayley Turner, and Southwell officials Tricia Drabble and Amanda Boby. Photo: Matthew Dickens for ARC

GB: Following a year of huge achievement for female jockeys, Southwell racecourse is to host an all-female racecard on Sunday March 8 in celebration of International Women’s Day.

The Nottinghamshire venue will host an eight-race mixed card featuring four races on the Flat and four over jumps, all restricted to women riders. The event will be run in conjunction with the sport’s Diversity in Racing Steering Group, the BHA, Women in Racing and Great British Racing.

Last year saw jump jockey Bryony Frost become the first-ever female jockey to win a Grade 1 race during the Cheltenham Festival, while Irish counterpart Rachael Blackmore was runner-up in the Irish jockeys’ title race.

On the Flat, Hollie Doyle broke the record for most wins achieved in a calendar year by a female jockey and Hayley Turner became the first female jockey to win at Royal Ascot in 32 years.

“It’s great that Southwell are celebrating International Women’s Day with an all-female racecard,” said Turner, who has more than 840 winners to her name.

“We ride against and at the same level as men so don’t think of ourselves as female jockeys, but this is a great way to celebrate the talented women in our sport. We are getting more and more recognition so this is a fantastic opportunity to showcase women in racing. I am from Southwell and went to school at Southwell Minster so it’s great to have a day’s racing like this close to home”

As part of Women in Racing’s ‘Racing Home’ programme, the organisation will host a workshop ahead of racing to address the issues that are faced by working mothers in the racing industry, following on from the inaugural Racing Home symposium that took place in October 2019.

Women in Racing chair Tallulah Lewis commented: “Women in Racing was founded to support women across the sport, including female jockeys. 

“Southwell’s all-women race card, with the majority of raceday officials female also, provides a great opportunity to showcase female jockey talent and we’re delighted to work with all parties to help make this happen. We will continue our work to showcase the incredible female talent we have across the sport and help ensure that racing can benefit from this in the years ahead.”

Rose Grissell, BHA Head of Diversity and Inclusion, said: “International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the achievements and talents of women across the world, as well as to raise awareness of some of the unique challenges and inequalities they face. There is no better way to celebrate the day than by providing further opportunities for female jockeys and showcasing their abilities through this fixture.

“Racing should be proud of the progress it has made. In the last twelve months alone, female jockeys broke down barriers and perceptions and in doing so put racing on the front pages of national papers. However, there is more to be done to ensure that they get the same opportunities as their male counterparts.”

Southwell racecourse will offer free tickets for the International Women’s Day fixture on March 8 to all members of Women in Racing.

• For more information, please visit the Southwell website
• To book a place at the Women in Racing ‘Racing Home’ workshop, please visit the WiR website