20 Women Set To Dominate Horse Racing, Over The Next Decade

Rebecca Curtis

Like most sports, horse racing used to be very much a man’s game but thankfully things are starting to change. Women are now making big inroads, in just about every part of the industry. RaceBets has put together a list of the 20 females we expect to have the most influence, over the next 10 years.

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Before we start, a word of appreciation for the brilliant team at Women In Racing, an organisation founded by Sally Rowley-Williams. No institution has done more to open doors for females in this industry. Some of the current committee-members have been profiled, below. Many more of the women featured simply would not be there, without the inspiration and support that Women In Racing has provided. You can find out more about their work at womeninracing.co.uk (Twitter: @WomenInRacing1)

Remember, our top-20 is largely made-up of those who we feel are heading for the top and does not necessarily include those who are already there. We hope that any attempts at humour are taken in good part and salute every woman whose talent and dynamism has led to us including them in this piece.

Don’t choke on your cornflakes. Leave that to those who have been left out!

#20 Eve Johnson Houghton

Eve Johnson Houghton Horse Racing Trainer


“I love what I do… and I do what I love. It’s the owners’ pleasure, but it’s my business… and it’s my business to make their pleasure, pleasurable.”

Not the words of David Brent, but those of one of the best up-and-coming female trainers in the game (although they really must put something into the water, in the Thames Valley).

As a jockey, Eve Johnson Houghton twice won the Ascot Diamond. She’s unlikely to be content with Woodway’s single Group success, under her stewardship, but with at least 20 flat victories in every campaign since 2010 she’s building solid foundations for the future.

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#19 Lydia Hislop

 Lydia Hislop


Hislop’s a little like the Humanities teacher, the boys always had a soft-spot for at school and suspected was just a tiny bit naughty on the quiet!

She adroitly straddles the chasm between the shameless self-promoters and the cave-dwelling number-crunchers, on the excellent RacingUK channel.

Clearly respected out on the course and always armed with a wicked sense of humour, she’s the presenter you would most want to go for a pint with.

#18 Ann Duffield

Ann Duffield


If you are an owner who has put a horse in the more than capable hands of Ann Duffield, you might want to check the invoice carefully, from time to time. ‘Ann’s Thoughts’ cost £10 per month, so heaven knows what her vet and farrier fees are.

Then again, with around 100 wins in the last 5 seasons, including a brace of Group victories, she probably doesn’t get too many complaints.

She’s long been regarded as an expert at schooling 2-year-olds and Rainbow Mist’s, Twizzell’s and Cuppacoffee’s victories, already this season, bear that out.

#17 Susannah Gill (left)

susannah gill 696


Director of External Affairs at Arena Racing, the UK’s largest racecourse group, this boardroom blonde-bombshell doesn’t come across as the sort of woman to stand still for very long.

She’s a regular point-to-point jockey (also riding under rules as an amateur, on occasions), but her talents don’t end there!

Gill is a sub-3 hour marathon runner who set a Guinness World Record, back in 2012, for being the fastest female marathon competitor wearing an animal costume!

It’s a little surprising that she chose to do so dressed as a peacock and not a creature much higher up the food-chain, but we still expect this one to run and run.

#16 Ruth Carr

Race horse trainer RUTH CARR.


You get the impression that if anyone dared to call Ruth Carr a bluff Yorkshirewoman, she would take it as a compliment.

Famed for getting horses on the cheap and turning them into winners, it’s easy to imagine Carr waking her inmates up at 4am on a February morning and calling them all soft Southern pansies who wouldn’t last 5 minutes down t’pit!

You can’t argue with the facts though. 30 winners in 2012, 39 in 2013, 42 in 2014, 43 in 2015 and 12 in this campaign already.

Face it, she’s just much harder than you are!

#15 Gay Kelleway

gaye kelleway


Nobody likes winning, more than Gay Kelleway. When Holy Warrior made light work of the opposition, in the Prix Policeman at Cagnes-Sur-Mer, the trainer and former Champion Jockey was celebrating in the stands like a Chelsea fan that had just watched Eden Hazard put the last nail in Tottenham Hotspur’s title-chasing coffin.

Her terrace-clobber might not have impressed the boys at Stamford Bridge, a great deal. The padded cyan anorak she wore needs replacing with something from Stone Island and Kelleway will certainly be able to afford it, if she can keep getting winners.

In the past few weeks she will have been bouncing around again, as King Of Castilla (5/1), Let There Be Light (5/1) and Ubla (12/1) all proved too good for the opposition.

‘One of the most exciting and talented trainers of modern times’, as an unattributed quote on her website’s ‘About’ page puts it and who are we to argue?

#14 Alice Plunkett

Alice Plunkett


Alice Plunkett wears great boots. This is clearly stated, as an irrefutable truth, on her Wikipedia page. The fact that she’s the only woman to have ridden over the National course at Aintree and the Badminton Horse Trials is added, almost as a mere footnote.

This exotic and headstrong pundit takes no nonsense from the men in grey suits on CH4 Racing. Let’s hope that ITV snaps her up, when they start looking at potential team-member for their new racing show.

#13 Victoria Pendleton

Cheltenham Festival day 2


While she can come across, in interviews as the sort of breezily optimistic marriage-guidance counsellor that might tempt you to pack your bags and write the Dear John letter just to avoid the next session, it’s worth remembering that Pendleton is a woman of deeds and not words.

She made the jump from being a Champion Olympic cyclist, to becoming a winning jockey, in a staggeringly short period of time. You get the impression that she’ll be as successful as she wants to be, regardless of what she chooses to do.

If horse racing can sustain her interest, at least for a few years, it could get very interesting indeed.

#12 Harriet Rochester

Newbury Friday


An enthusiastic advocate of both the big fur hat and the somewhat racy hemline, Harriet Rochester is not one to look a gift-horse in the mouth when it comes to publicity.

Her company, Rochester PR & Marketing, will soon be celebrating its 10th birthday and will do so as one of the most influential public-relations firms in the racing industry.

Clients now include Aintree Racecourse, Windsor Racecourse, Chelsea Thoroughbreds and Jockey Club Racecourses North West.

The creator of the first Grand Women’s Summit, a conference on gender-balance in sport, looks to be heading all the way to the top.

#11 Katie Walsh

Katie Walsh


This amazing jockey often manages to look like she’s just been dragged through a hedge backwards and she’s now been immortalised, with an award-winning photograph in the National Portrait Gallery.

Ruby’s sister is an unpolished gem and sparkles all the brighter for it. Let’s hope that the stylists don’t get to the only female G1 winner (and top woman performer in a Grand National), because she’s already perfect.

Unwilling to take the bait, when asked preemptive questions about women in racing (questions that are almost always put to her by people who haven’t got their own hands dirty for a very long time, if ever at all), she appears to know that those in the industry who really matter will judge her solely by what she does out on the track.

“When I go out, I’m not looking for room. I’m not looking for someone to be nice to me. We’re all fighting for the same prize.”

#10 Cathy Gannon

Cathy Gannon


She has the aura of a person who would cross the road to start a fight with someone 2-feet taller than her and you would back this feisty horsewoman to come off best, as well!

If former-footballer Roy Keane was a female jockey, he/she would be something like Cathy Gannon (although perhaps not quite as intimidating). What both of these sporting heroes share is a relentless will to win.

12 victories for Gannon, last campaign, led to a sizeable profit for punters who backed her in every race. The best woman jockey in the business, right now and probably for several years to come.

#9 Lucinda Russell

Lucinda Russell

It’s quite a surprise to learn that Lucinda Russell grew up in Edinburgh. There aren’t many people that you would believe, if they told you they had never visited a city in their lives, but she is an exception.

Then again, few would want to leave such an idyllic part of Scotland as Kinross-shire (where her stables are based) unless it was for a day at the races. Russell is hard-working, stoic and driven by a thirst for even more winners.

She has over 560 to her name, so far. The UK’s most naturally-talented female trainer and amongst the very best National Hunt yard-bosses in the business. It’s very hard to imagine her ever doing anything else.

#8 Denise Large

denise large 696


There is something magnificently presidential, about Denise Large’s Twitter output. No anniversary or achievement, involving the great and the good, is allowed to pass without carefully-measured comments from  the first ever female director of the Grand National TV coverage. This is not a woman who underestimates her role, in the grand scheme of things.
You have to admit though, since she was first charged with the task of filming the biggest race in the world, the work of her team has been to an exceptional standard. IMG’s decision to hire Large led to a Bafta, for the best outside broadcast of the year.

Can she do it on a cold, wet, Tuesday night at Wolverhampton, though?

#7 Rebecca Curtis

Rebecca Curtis

Her yard had a rough old time of it, in 2015-2016, with just 24 wins and a 12% strike rate. Most trainers would be happy with that, but Curtis has high standards and will expect much more from her charges in the next campaign.

Her 256 career National Hunt wins include 4 at the Cheltenham Festival and 3 in Group 1 company. When you’re the hottest hottie in racing, plenty of people want to see you fail but Curtis is a terrific trainer whose best years are still very-much ahead of her.

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#6 Hayley Turner

Hayley Turner

Immaculately presented and wonderfully poised, she’s like the prized head-girl from the school that’s always had a bit of bother with Ofsted.

Her playful, girlish sense of humour is backed-up by a truly ground-breaking career and she’s already the best presenter on At The Races. You are going to see plenty of Hayley Turner, in the coming years and rightfully so.

#5 Alex Hammond

alex hammond 696


Hammond always tends to look like she’s just about managing to avoid bursting out laughing, when presenting on Sky or AtTheRaces She’s a lot more serious when on the back of a horse though and is a talented amateur rider.

As for her tips, well, don’t re-mortgage the house to get your wagers on but at least they’re better than Matt Chapman’s. As for our’s, back Hammond to have a successful media career in racing for as long as she chooses to.

#4 Jane Chapple-Hyam

Jane Chapple-Hyam-4

While Brits often seem to think that just taking part is the most important thing in sport, Aussies aren’t happy unless they are winning. Jane Chapple-Hyam has the cold glare of a hungry great white shark and her results are those of an alpha-predator.

A 46% first-four prize money strike-rate puts virtually every other UK-based trainer to shame and she’s already picked up 12 winners, this season.

Nobody in racing looks more driven, or focused. With her often-worn baseball cap pulled down low over her face, you could easily imagine her in the Australian slip-cordon – sledging the hapless English batsmen as they crumbled to another humiliating defeat.

Be afraid. Be very afraid!

#3 Kirsten Rausing

Kirsten Rausing


Back in 2008, Kirsten (along with the rest of the Rausing clan) was the subject of a somewhat typically spiteful article in The Independent, titled ‘The Dark Side Of A Dynasty’.

The central charge appeared to be that the Rausings (unlike The Independent newspaper, for which printed production recently ceased) had managed to make some money and it is true that not many in racing can match the wealth of Lanwades’ owner.

Few have had the same impact, as a breeder of top-class racehorses, either. Well-over 100 Group or Listed winners, since 1999, tells its own story.

Rausing doesn’t court publicity and seems content just getting on with what she does best – producing exciting young horses. Every now and then she’ll emerge to flex a muscle, reminding anyone foolish enough to try their strength against her’s that they should perhaps pick on someone their own size.

#2 Gina Harding

Gina Harding


Each morning, Gina Harding picks out an incredible outfit, puts on her war-paint, grabs the scent bottle, sprays a big cloud of ambition in front of her, walks right through it, then keeps going until she’s out of her front-door and ready to do battle.

A regular guest on both AtTheRaces and CH4 Racing, she’s already amongst the elite of racing presenters but the fact that she still keeps a show-reel on her Youtube channel (something you might expect a trainee local news reporter to do) indicates that this girl wants to achieve so much more.

Harding has already worked for various major racing media outlets in Australia and looks like she’ll march on until the whole world has been conquered. Channel 4 will reluctantly hand over the racing coverage baton, at the beginning of next year. ITV needs to get Gina Harding as part of the new team. She already has the skills to anchor a show of that size and should have been the first person they approached.

Ed Chamberlin has now been chosen for that role. He’ll be a safe pair of hands, but ITV could have been much bolder. Harding’s time will come, though.

#1 Megan Nicholls

Megan Nicholls


Some people are under the impression that Megan Nicholls, apprentice jockey and daughter of Champion National Hunt trainer Paul, has it all put on a plate for her.

On April 11th, she rode a 25/1 winner for Richard Hannon. She was then given several more no-hopers to pilot, before landing the spoils on Sureness (Kempton, 18th May) – again at 25/1. Since then, she has been given 4 more rides. They went off at 40/1, 40/1, 20/1 and 11/1.

Any young jockey, that casts envious eyes her way, should be grateful that they weren’t the one asked to get a response from an absolute pup like Woofie in a recent Ascot Apprentice Handicap. None of this has much to do with us reserving top spot for Nicholls, though.

She makes the list because of how she handles herself. She speaks with precocious authority and you could imagine her successfully taking on a very, very, very big job in racing, by the time she reaches her mid-20s. Yes, that job!

She may never make it, as a top-class jockey, but she might end up booking plenty of them on her way to becoming the first female Champion National Hunt Trainer and (regardless of gender) the youngest of all-time.

Now that’s what we would call progress, for women in racing!

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Other Women, Who Are Shaping The Future Of Racing

There is just so much female talent, working in racing right now, that a simple top-20 cannot do women justice. Here are some more names you are going to be hearing much more about, over the next decade…

Rachel Annan


Equine education mistress, who keeps her whip close at hand. Rides for Andy Oliver, when she’s not on the ski slopes.

Sheila Bailey


Relentless charity fundraiser, owner, breeder, ROA director. Her finger’s always on the pulse.

Clare Balding

Clare Balding


We’ve not left her out of the top-20, just for controversy’s sake. However, it’s tough to see a big TV role for her in racing when Channel 4’s coverage ends next year. This is no ITV girl! She has the ability to anchor a show covering just about any sport, so we hope she will surprise us and stay in racing. She would make a better Match of the Day host than anyone currently working in football, though. Just imagine Alan Shearer’s face!

Angela Barnes


Newmarket’s top tack lady prowls the streets of the town in her hot-hatchback, when not getting her palms ever-more stained from bespoke leather-work.

Lucy Barry


Apprentice jockey with the pout of an indie band frontwoman. One of the biggest cheerleaders, for other female riders and no mug herself.

SammyJo Bell


Amazing young apprentice who has toughened up in the last 18 months. She now appears capable of getting winners in any grade of race. Sammy is currently recovering from a nasty injury and we wish her all the best.

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Sally Bethell


James Bethall may get most of the plaudits, but this lady deserves just as much credit for maintaining one of the best-run smaller yards in the industry.

Vanessa Binnie-Ryle


Multi-talented TV producer, presenter and horsewoman. As a toddler, her very-first words were probably “Come Racing!”.

Shelley Birkett


shelly birkett

Amazingly gifted apprentice rider, who has emerged as an absolute star in this campaign and seems in no mood to look back.

Carey Buckler


The Jockey Club’s current Regional Partnership Manager gets beside herself with excitement, whenever the Cheltenham Festival comes around!

Amie Canham


Talented TV producer, passionate about racing and with a strong interest in the grassroots of the industry. Someone who gets things done.

Louisa Carberry


Pioneering trainer, currently plying her trade on French soil. Chastiser of bogey-blowing jockeys.

Deirdre Cashman


Breeder at Yellowford Farm in Cork. You can thank her for Bellshill and Coney Island, to name but two.

Anita Chambers


One of the best racing tipsters in the business, with thousands of punters following her picks in The Sporting Life.

Rowena Cook


Doing terrific work, along with Fred, running one of the top equine management and training companies in the country. Few can match her expertise.

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Sara Cumani

Sara Cumani


Manager of Fittocks Stud, currently bursting with pride at son Matt’s achievements in Australia and rightly so!

Sophia Dale (formerly Brudenell)


The Jockey Club’s West-Country communications boss and former senior account manager at JSC Sport. Her head’s usually buried in the Racing Post, if she isn’t working. Impressive and highly-driven individual.

Caroline Davies


RCA Racecourse Services Director and enthusiastic tub-thumper for trainer Matt Sheppard.

Jane Davis


GoRacing Racecourse Marketing Support Manager and a tireless cheerleader for the sport in Ireland.

Rebecca Davies


Executive Director & Clerk of the Course at Hereford. Reluctant retriever of stolen poultry from the mouths of sheepish-looking hounds.

Jan Denning


Commercial Director at Wolverhampton Racecourse, advocate of good grammar and photobomber. If she didn’t exist, then Twitter would have had to invent her!

Hollie Doyle

hollie doyle


One of Richard Hannon’s best apprentices. Utterly smitten with Aguerooo.

Liz Doyle


She’s got Hollywood looks and a keen eye for stars of the future. Her yard picked out both Al Ferof and Cheltenian.

Kiersten Duke


Currently in Australia (working with Chris Waller), but we hope to see her back on British soil soon. Always more comfortable in riding boots, rather than stilettos.

Lucinda Egerton


She’s just good at everything she does. Making movies, dragon-boating across the Channel in world-record time, or simply turning good horses into great ones as a trainer.

Jane Elliott


George Margarson’s able-apprentice has added boxing to her training routine, so she certainly won’t be getting bullied on the bends!

Lorraine Ellison


This extremely gifted horsewoman was Champion Amateur, 2 years on the trot.

Emily Finnegan


Phillip Stokes’ apprentice is probably the most lazy tweeter in racing, but knows how to get to work when in the saddle.

Niamh Flynn


This ultra-smart lady is Marketing & Promotion Co-ordinator, for Tattersalls (Ireland). Loudly bangs the drum for racing on the Emerald Isle and owns the biggest pink bobble hat to be found anywhere in Meath & Galway!

Jane Foley


When she’s not looking after her 3 young daughters, Foley finds time to train horses and run a stud farm in Carlow! Never happier than when watching the sun rise over Ballyhane.

Natalie Folland


Manager at Elkington Stud, where they’ve been consistently been producing top foals for some time. Over the moon about Intersky High’s newly-arrived Mount Nelson filly!

Carrie Ford


Ford is a former Champion Lady NH Rider, who now works as Northern Region Education Officer for BHEST’s Racing to School programme. Certainly knows one end of a horse from the other, although better photographers may well be available!

Lorna Fowler


Lives an idyllic life, at Rahinston Farm in Meath, a stud which she manages with husband Harry.

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Harriet Fuller


Her regular and incisive racing column in The Sun attracts thousands of readers, every week. She also part-owns a Helmet colt, in Australia. Can often be found buttonholing a Southern Rail representative, during the London rush-hour.

Ilka Gansera-Leveque


Ambitious and dynamic trainer, responsible for the likes of Joe Sugden, Tiger Club, Force Of Destiny and Zebelini. Flying high, so no wonder one of her favourite songs is BB King’s ‘Better Not Look Down’.

Dawn Goodfellow


As in so many areas of work, it’s the boardroom where women are underrepresented and Goodfellow’s appointment as Chief Executive at Racing Welfare should be celebrated. When she’s not helping to take care of everyone working in the racing industry, she’s looking after the grandchildren.

Josephine Gordon

Firing Apprentices


Nobody has hit the ground running, this season, quite like Josephine Gordon. Stan Moore has uncovered an absolute gem and it will be no surprise if she pilots the winner of a very big race, in this campaign.

Harriet Graham


A talented NH trainer and Clerk of the Course at both Musselburgh and Perth, she’s only too keen to talk about the weather.

Sally Ann Grassick


Talented TV presenter for RTE Racing and Equidia (French horse racing channel) and she’ll go far!

Amy May Green


This young Yorkshirewoman has a unique gift for capturing the classical essence of racing, both with a camera and on canvas. Already in demand.

Jessica Harrington

jessica harrington


Amongst the best and most-established women trainers, in the sport. Ten Theatre is amongst her latest prodigies.

Grace Harris


Harris describes herself as ‘ the UK’s youngest dual purpose racehorse trainer’ (we’ll take her word for that!) and notable inmates include Le Bacardy, Dismantle, Last Summer and Teide Peak.

Olivia-Daisy Hills


Communications Manager for Jockey Club Racecourses, in the East of England and possibly the girliest girl in racing.

Anna Hesketh

anna hesketh


Smart young apprentice to Tom Dascombe, for whom she piloted her first winner in April. Also rides for Dandy Nicholls.

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Helena Kennedy


One of the top vets in the Irish racing industry. Currently at Equine Stud Practice, Fermoy, County Cork.

Samantha Kettle


Kettle’s background is very-much in show jumping. Now a journalist, she’s spread her wings and also works in consultancy, marketing and project management within the racing industry. A busy woman, but she’ll always find time to fetch a carrot for Oman!

Sophie Killoran


Superb rookie jockey, currently working for David Simcock. A recent winner, at Windsor, on-board Summersault.

Steph Kirkley


Business Development Manager at Brighton Racecourse. The greatest asset that venue has, by far.

Laura King


Jet-setting presenter and producer, currently working for both Dubai Racing and Equestrio Magazine. She may have a confused look on her face, when you meet her, as she tries to remember which language she should be speaking at that moment.

Stephanie King

stephanie king


Giles Bravery’s racing manager also does PR work for a string of major bookmakers. Likes to spend time at the driving range, where she’s added real ‘depth’ to her swing.

Racheal Kneller


Professional flat jockey who hasn’t always got the breaks, but keeps plugging away and her determination will surely bring rewards. Rode her first winner 8 years ago, Hucking Heat for Reg Hollinshead.

Tallulah Lewis


Club Executive at The Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association and a member of the Women in Racing Committee. Very few people of her age understand the structure of the racing industry so well (and what needs to be done to improve it).

Hayley Locker


She’s made great strides, bringing the promotion of Uttoxeter Racecourse into the 21st Century. 10k crowds tell you everything you need to know about this marketing manager’s talent for getting the public to go racing.

Nora Looby


Looby is a qualified make-up artist, but racing is her real passion and she’s shown plenty of ability as an apprentice jockey. The holiday tan needs work, though!

Janet Lowe


Business and racehorse owner, who has recently enjoyed success with Reflektor. Sponsors Richard Kingscote. Not afraid to back a longshot.

Katy Lyons

Katy Lyons


Manages L&B Equine Services, along with Steve Barry, who offer exercising, grooming and tack maintenance to horse owners. We’ve no idea what hogging constitutes, but at just a tenner you can count us in!

Katie Louise Margarson


Key member of the team, at Graham Lodge Stables. Far more gracious in the saddle, than in a hammock!

Emma Marley


Ayr’s Racing Manager and Clerk of the Course not only tweets out the going with metronomic frequency, she even posts videos of herself probing the turf with a stick!  The Earl of Eglinton, Sir James Boswell and the Duke of Portland will be looking down from the heavens with pride!

Sammy Martin


Martin is PR & Event Manager, at the International Racing Bureau. She’s also involved with the Under Starters Orders initiative, which will be key to attracting new blood to the sport. Indulges Jack Russell, Brody, rather a lot!

Joanna Mason


Some amateur jockeys really put their backs into riding, but Mick Easterby’s grand-daughter went much further – breaking hers and dealing with a long period of rehabilitation. Now back in the saddle and already riding winners. Don’t mess with Jo 90!

Leonna Mayor

leonna mayor


Ex flat jockey, now working in broadcasting as a presenter. Has all the tools to go very far, unlike a few of the nags that she tips! Not one who is afraid to call out a jockey for questionable tactics, she gave Silvestre de Sousa both barrels after Oasis Fantasy quickened a day late and a dollar short at York!

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Rebecca E Menzies


This York-based trainer’s recent winning inmates have included Zakatal, Asuncion and Celtic Artisan. Progressive and versatile filly, who is still very-much unexposed.

Alisha McCormack


McCormack manages the foaling unit, at the Aga Khan’s stud. Currently extremely excited by Mekhtaal, as she very-well should be!

Katie McKeever


Top Northern Ireland point-to-point handler and doughty defender of Douvan.

Kirsty Milczarek

Kirsty Milczarek


Former pro-jockey, now a tv presenter with a big following. Regards herself as a broodmare, now, but we don’t expect her to be confined for very long.

Siobhan Miller


Underrated jockey, formerly an apprentice to David Simcock. Occasional chaser of errant juveniles, in the Swindon area.

Hayley O’Connor


Racehorse owner and breeder who, according to her Twitter page, is vehemently against animal captivity. No, really!

Sophie O’Hare


Super-smart digital marketing executive with Horse Racing Ireland. An absolute data-fiend and your company would make a lot more money if she worked for it.

Sharleen O’Reilly


She’s Horse Racing Ireland’s Racing Operations Manager, co-ordinating race-day services, equipment and personnel. No woman is more passionate about starting-stalls efficiency, so if she gets talking to you at a party you could be in for a long evening!

Laura Pike

Laura Pike


With a good jockey career, already behind her, Pike now works with David Simcock at his yard. We expect her experience to be rewarded with a big job in racing, fairly soon.

Louise Pollard


Brilliant equine photographer, who has been very unfortunate to only finish as runner-up (3 times) at the HWPA Derby Awards. Particularly good with action shots.

Lucy Ralph


Glamorous law graduate, has worked with Ben Pauling Racing and the BHA. Passionate supporter of Women In Racing and a hollow-legged pizza devourer.

Joanna Quade


Feisty South-Coast racehorse owner, never shy of picking a fight online with whoever gets her back up.

Amy Starkey


Currently the Regional Director of Jockey Club Racecourses (Eastern England), she’s previously been the big cheese at Huntingdon and Kempton Racecourses. Is likely to take on even bigger and better roles, in the future.

Karen Thacker


Racehorse owner, FlliyForum boss and the hardest-working member of racing’s Twitterati.

Gemma Tutty


Very underated apprentice jockey who really should be getting more rides. Impressive recent win on 20/1 shot, Under Approval.

Aly Vance


A respected journalist and presenter, working with both At The Races the BBC and CNN. Highly versatile and might just be the next Clare Balding.

Alice White


Having shined at both HEROS and Windsor Racecourse, White is now involved in commercial sales at Newbury. Tireless charity worker, with a positive outlook.

Barbara White


Marketing & PR Manager at Horse Racing Ireland and generous equine photo critic, she’s one of the main reasons that Horse Racing Ireland has enjoyed such a successful last decade.

Sian Williams


General Manager at Huntingdon Racecourse, where she’s been doing a fantastic job. Only likely to get flustered when the equine apple of her eye, Al Ferof, is approaching a tricky fence.

How Women In Racing Have Turned The Corner

Saturday June 4th will not only be Derby Day, but the 103rd anniversary of Emily Davison’s fatal protest at Epsom racecourse. The militant suffragette died 4 days after walking on to the track and being hit by the King’s horse.

Historians still argue over what her exact intentions were, on that fateful day. There can be little doubt though that her reckless decision (let’s not forget that an innocent jockey was hurt and, along with his mount Anmer, could very-easily have been killed) was due to women not being regarded as mens’ equals.

Shortly after 5.15pm, amid the cheers of the Epsom crowd and the thunder of hooves, you’ll see the slight yet powerful frame of Josephine Gordon aboard Iftiraaq. Rounding the famous Tattenham Corner, the exact spot where Davison was hit, she’ll be competing with the likes of Silvestre de Sousa, William Buick and Andrea Atzeni – three of the world’s leading jockeys and all of them elite male athletes.

What’s more, she will be doing so on level terms. The 5lb allowance she receives is only down to her still being an apprentice and has nothing to do with gender. This allowance will shortly be taken away from her, as Gordon is regularly winning races and will soon ride out her claim. When that happens, she will continue to be successful because of her talent – just like the brilliant Cathy Gannon.

The cause of feminism is often regarded as an urban pursuit, yet it is in this most rural of pastimes that pioneering women are showing just what they can achieve when not being held back. There are many reasons why racing is the greatest sport in the world, but it’s sheer inclusivity has to be right up there at the top of the list.

Other sports will surely follow racing’s lead. If a woman can competitively steer a thoroughbred racehorse, at the highest level, why can’t she do the same with an F1 car or a Superbike? Too weak? Not fearless, enough? That’s exactly what they used to say about female jockeys!

The correct answer, of course, is that SHE CAN and soon surely will. These are heady days for sportswomen and people will still be talking about legends like Gordon and Gannon, a hundred years from now.

Racing is about much more than just jockeys, though. We, at RaceBets, felt compelled to produce this article as an army of highly-skilled women are achieving great things in every area of our industry. We hope that these same women will feel inspired-enough, by what we have written, to make sure that the world knows it!

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Image References

Susannah Gill – http://www.lancashirelife.co.uk

Denise Large – @deniselarge twitter account

Stephanie King – @ms_arsenal twitter account

20 Women Set To Dominate Horse Racing, Over The Next Decade
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