7 significant moments in racing by female jockeys

In horseracing, men and woman are treated equal. In what is regarded as a rarity within professional sport, they race against each other on a level playing field.

It’s a significant week for women in sport with Michelle Payne being entered for the Group One Queen Anne Stakes, which is the first race at Royal Ascot and there’s a lot of hype to see whether she can replicate a similar performance that won her the 2015 Melbourne Cup (the first female jockey to win the prestigious contest).

There are so many great moments to choose from where female jockeys have lit up the world of racing but we managed to narrow it down to seven.


Michelle Payne wins the 2015 Melbourne Cup on Prince of Penzance

At odds of 100/1, Michelle Payne became a history maker in Australian racing as the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup at Flemington.

Although female jockeys have previously ridden in the race, none have come close to landing the lucrative prize until the 30-year-old guided Prince of Penzance to success Down Under.

Defeating the likes of Frankie Dettori, Michael Walker, Tommy Berry and Jamie Spencer to the Cup, Payne starred in the Melbourne sunshine.


Hayley Turner becomes the first outright British Group 1-winning female rider

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Fancied for success in the 2011 Darley July Cup, Hayley Turner broke a big barrier in British racing by winning the Group 1 contest on Dream Ahead.

Demonstrating her ability to ride effectively at the highest level, Dream Ahead’s success at Newmarket’s July course proved to be the springboard to more top level success with Margot Did in the 2011 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes and the 2012 Beverley D. Stakes in America on I’m A Dreamer.

Hayley, who is set to retire after the November Handicap at Doncaster this season, is also the only female jockey to ride 100 winners in a calendar year.


Julie Krone is crowned the first female jockey to win an American Classic and Breeders’ Cup contest


In 1993, America was to have a first real taste of girl power.

In the Belmont Stakes, riding Colonial Affair, Krone repelled her rivals to enter the history books as the first American Classic winner at the New York-based track.

Ten years later, in 2003, Krone would also make her mark at the Breeders’ Cup, becoming the first rider to win a contest at the festival on board Halfbridled in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.


Alex Greaves rides Ya Malak to Group 1 glory

Alex Greaves became somewhat of a pin-up girl for racing. Inspiring to younger female jockeys breaking through, she was more than capable of producing on the big stage.

Her shining moment came in 1997, when dead-heating in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York on board, Ya Malak.

Greaves is renowned for being the inspiration for Hayley Turner, who 14 years later would become the first female jockey to win a Group 1 contest outright.


Katie Walsh comes close to Grand National victory

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In 2000, trainer Ted Walsh and jockey-son Ruby produced a stunning Grand National performance to become a father-son-winning duo of Aintree’s showpiece event.

In 2012, Ted and daughter Katie were hoping to really make a difference in British and Irish sport.

On board Seabass, Katie produced a stunning ride on the fancied contender only for the horse’s fatigue to sit in during the closing stages of the race. Behind the hugely exciting tussle between Neptune Collonges and Sunnyhillboy in front, Seabass claimed third place and inadvertently made Walsh the first female jockey to place in the World’s most famous race.


Gay Kelleway becomes first female-winning rider at Royal Ascot

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Gay Kelleway did a great deal to enhance female jockeys in racing.

In 1987, she rode Sprowston Boy to victory for her late father Paul in the Queen Alexandra Stakes. As a constant reminder of her achievement, her yard in Newmarket is named Queen Alexandra Stables.

Kelleyway also became the first woman to ride in a Classic – on board Davemma in the 1986 Oaks – with Hayley Turner following in her footsteps recently when riding Cavaliero in the 2012 Investec Derby.


Lizzie Kelly wins her second Grade 1 race in the Betway Bowl Chase at Aintree

Lizzie Kelly won the biggest race on day one of the Grand National Festival this year in the Betway Bowl Chase.

The win at Aintree was made all the more impressive considering Kelly was unseated on the second fence in the Cheltenham Gold Cup a few weeks before with the same horse (Tea For Two)! It shows her strong personality at just 23 years old as she put the disappointment at Cheltenham as “character building” and swiftly moved on to win at Aintree.

The race itself was one of the most exciting of the 2016 / 2017 Jumps season with Tea For Two edging out Cue Card. Kelly also shot to fame by winning the Grade One Kauto Star Novice Chase at Kempton in December 2015!


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