Today, Jockey Club Racecourses North West (JCRNW) hosted a media day to promote the £20,000 development award for female jockeys which will return for a second year, with local Olympic Gold Medallist and JCRNW Ambassador, Sam Quek; 2016 winner of the award, Emma Sayer; and JCRNW Ambassador, Katie Walsh all in attendance supporting the award.
This year, the unique award will be presented to a lady jockey who rides a winner at Carlisle’s #AmazingMonday fixture on Monday 7th August and then goes on to win the Betfred Ladies’ Trophy Handicap Stakes at Haydock Park on Saturday 12th August.
Katie Walsh, the most successful female jockey in Grand National history who is supporting the award, said: “It’s a fantastic prize that offers a life-changing amount of money to whoever is successful in the series. I just wish that I was able to compete in it!
“The award is a great incentive to help along women jockeys. Racing has come such a long way in the last 10 to 15 years and awards like this can only help raise the profile.
“I wish the best of luck to all those competing. My advice to them is to get their heads down, work hard and to get on the best horses they possibly can.
“You now get some of the best trainers in the UK giving rides to women jockeys if they can prove themselves, that’s another great incentive.”
Olympic Gold Medallist and JCRNW Ambassador, Sam Quek MBE said: “I can’t wait to come up to Carlisle on August 7th and experience my first #AmazingMonday. It’s the world’s only all-female race fixture and that is a massive statement by the Jockey Club North West. Female jockeys are good, they’re damn brave and deserve this recognition. I cannot wait to see who claims the prize.
“It not only takes talent and commitment to get to the top of any sport, but also vital support and this is what this Development Prize offers. It is a great incentive for female jockeys and that prize can help them in so many ways reach their full potential.”
Last year saw the inauguration of the development award, a £20,000 prize designed to provide an opportunity for personal development and professional support for female jockeys in their racing career. Emma Sayer successfully won the award in 2016 in a nail-biting finish against Rachel Richardson, who was also in the running for the life changing prize.
Emma said: “Winning the award and the two races is definitely the best thing that has ever happened to me in my career. I have never had a feeling like it. I wish I could bottle that feeling and take it round with me.
“The award has provided a window of opportunity for me as you have to look to the future. I invested in a mechanical horse and other riding equipment, put some money aside for racing expenses this summer and into finishing my trainer’s modules.”
Carlisle Racecourse hosts one of the most unique racing fixtures, the world’s only raceday exclusive for female jockeys competing for the Durdar Trophy. Now in its seventh year, this fixture has been at the forefront of promoting women in racing and the new initiatives from Jockey Club Racecourses North West will suitably compliment #AmazingMonday at the well-loved Cumbrian racecourse.
Carlisle and Haydock’s sister course in the North West, Aintree has also hosted the successful Grand Women Summit on Grand National Ladies Day at Aintree for the past three years working with Ladies Day Ambassador Katie Walsh, and have worked closely with Women in Racing during a two year partnership to support females in our sport.
For tickets and information for Carlisle’s #AmazingMonday and Haydock Park’s Betfred Rose of Lancaster racedays, please go tocarlisle.thejockeyclub.co.uk and haydock.thejockeyclub.co.uk, respectively.