The Rise Of Female Jockeys

Article provided by Phil Barrs of

2015 was a real break through year for female jockeys with: Michelle Payne, Katie Walsh and Lizzie Kelly all taking major honours.

On November 3rd 2015 Australian female jockey Michelle Payne, became the first women to win the Melbourne Cup. Riding Prince of Penzance Payne won, one of Australian racing biggest prizes and was a huge outsider at 100/1. Founded 155 years ago Payne is only one of 4 women ever to ride in the Melbourne Cup. After she stated that she hoped her victory helps female jockeys.” In conversion while picking up the trophy Payne said “I want to say to everyone else, get stuffed because women can do anything and we can beat the world.” In a fairy-tale ending to her career the Melbourne Cup was Payne’s last race as a jockey, as she retired after.

On April 6th 2015 Katie Walsh won the Irish Grand National on bored 20/1 shot Thunder And Roses. Katie is brother of top jump jockey Ruby Walsh, and is only third female to win the Irish Grand National. The only time Walsh had sat on Thunder And Roses was in the paddock at faiyhouse, as they set off down to the start. No one has really gave the horse a chance, after looking far from convincing in a performance at Cheltenham a month beforehand. Walsh had also impressed on Seabass in the England Grand National when finishing third. Katie will now be hoping to go and emulate big brother Ruby and go on ride big winners across the UK.

On the 26th December Lizzie Kelly became the first female jockey to ride a grade 1 jump winner, when she steered Tea Of Two home in the Kauto Star Novices Chase. Kelly rode the sometimes difficult and quirky horse like a dream. This was a real break through for Kelly who is now targeting the UK’s biggest rides at the biggest festival Cheltenham.

In the UK we also have the likes of Lucy Alexander, who has already rode 13 winners so far this season. The ever young Nina Carberry who continues to rides winners, probably her best ride was at Aintree last year when she won the Foxhunters’ Chase. One to keep an eye on is Sammy Jo Bell, the 24-year-old flat jockey won an impressive 28 races last year. She is already up and running this year winning 2 of her first 13 runs in 2016, making her one of the hot prospects in English racing.

With the achievements of these female jockey it should inspire a host of new sporting stars in the UK. They are proving that they are good enough to take on their male adversaries, and come out on top. In a very male dominated sport it’s a breath of fresh to see so many women coming through and taking the men on. The way they are developing it’s surly only a matter of time, until we see one of these woman or one of the younger ones coming through winning a Grand National or a Cheltenham Gold Cup.

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