JOCKEY VS RUGBY PLAYER II: WHO WINS? Jockey Lizzie Kelly takes on Harlequins rugby player Rachael Burford

Jockey Vs Rugby Player

Two-time Grade One-winning jockey Lizzie Kelly went head to head with Harlequins Ladies captain and Women’s Rugby World Cup winner Rachael Burford in the latest episode of the Jockey vs series, showcasing the fitness of racing’s human athletes against a range of other sporting stars.

Both athletes have had phenomenal careers in their respective sports thus far, with Kelly the first female jockey to win a Grade One race in December 2015 with Tea for Two in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton, while Burford was a key member of the England Women squad that won the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2014.

Kelly and Burford are both sensational athletes but what happens when the two clash in a series of fitness tests…

They are both in training for huge upcoming events in the sporting calendar, with Kelly set to compete at the Cheltenham Festival in less than three weeks’ time, after having her first winner at the Festival last year on board Coo Star Sivola in the Ultima Handicap Chase. Burford is part of the England Women’s Six Nations squad that faces Wales at Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday, while her club side Harlequins Ladies are challenging for the Tyrrells Premier 15s title and will host The Game Changer at the Stoop against Gloucester-Hartpury on Saturday 30th March.

Kelly, 25, and Burford, 32, showcased their remarkable athletic ability during the challenge, and provided some unexpected results in the four tests they undertook. The exercises that formed the contest were:

  • The Plank
  • Vertical Jump
  • 30 second Wattbike test
  • Equiciser

Lizzie Kelly, winner of two Grade One races in her career so far, said: “I hope I showed to people the fitness and strength that jockeys have to have in order to compete on a daily basis. In sports like rugby, professionals have a lot more coaching and training than jockeys do, so I imagined before that Rachael was likely to beat me. It was nice to see that I could hold my own against someone who has represented their country more than 80 times in a sport like rugby.”

Rachael Burford, Harlequins Ladies and England centre, said: “I thoroughly enjoyed pitting myself against Lizzie in this set of fitness challenges. As an elite athlete, I relish competition, and to be able to go against a top-class competitor from a different sport was extremely exciting. Lizzie showed the kind of shape you have to be in to be a top jockey and she certainly opened my eyes to the challenges that her training programme provides – of course I’m talking about the Equiciser! I wish her the best of luck for the rest of the season and hope to welcome her back to The Stoop for The Game Changer on Saturday 30 March.”

This is the third Jockey vs fitness battle, with two-time Randox Health Grand National-winning jockey Leighton Aspell facing the all-time leading record Aviva Premiership try scorer Tom Varndell in the first Jockey vs Rugby Player in 2017.

Last year, Silk Series jockey Hollie Doyle took on Arsenal and England Footballer Leah Williamson in the first Jockey vs Footballer challenge.


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