Research proves ladies ride just as well as men
New research shows that female jockeys are just as good as their male counterparts, although they get fewer rides
WATCH out boys — research has found that female jockeys are just as good as their male rivals.
While the study’s finding is not a surprise to many, there are hopes this evidence will help open up more opportunities for women.
Vanessa Cashmore analysed 14 years of data while studying for her masters in thoroughbred horseracing industries at the University of Liverpool. She found that when horse quality is considered, women riders were “every bit as good” as men.
Only 11.3% of professional jockey licences are held by women, who took just 5.2% of available rides during those 14 years. But women make up 51% of the sport’s stable staff workforce, up from 42% since 2010. Women also make up 24% of all jockeys holding a licence — the same percentage as 10 years ago.
Leading Flat jockey Hollie Doyle told H&H the research is useful proof that women can get “just as much” out of a horse.
“It isn’t just about power and strength — obviously that’s an advantage men have — but you have to be tactically switched on and a good horseman,” said Hollie, who has ridden more than 100 winners. “In racing, regardless of gender, it’s really hard to get going and to get rides and winners; it takes a lot of hard work.”
Hollie said she has never felt at a disadvantage as she is a woman.
“If you’re in fashion; riding
winners and riding well, whoever you are you’ll do well,” she said.
British Horseracing Authority (BHA) chief executive Nick
Rust added the organisation is “determined to address” why women get fewer rides than men, particularly in high-profile races.
“We are proud British racing is one of the few sports where men and women can compete on equal terms,” he said. “But if female jockeys are not being given the same opportunities as men, this cannot be considered equality.”
He added the BHA is looking at “any short- and long-term steps that must be taken to improve equal opportunities”.
Apprentice Gemma Tutty, who has ridden nearly 50 winners and is balancing riding with studying for a degree in psychology and counselling, told H&H she was interested horse quality was taken into account. She wants trainers to remain free to choose who they want, without rules or penalties, but hopes widespread opinions can move to regard male and female jockeys on a level.
“I have seen a lot of girls retire through lack of opportunities when there will be a lad riding to the same standard and he has had opportunities,” said Gemma.
“Not all lads get opportunities either, but the fact some trainers won’t use girls puts us at a disadvantage, even if some trainers use them all the time.”
Gemma Tutty has ridden nearly 50 winners