Welcome to the first of my fortnightly blogs that I am writing as the ambassador for The Silk Series.
I am delighted to be part of this new initiative, which I hope will give me and some of the other women in the Weighing Room the opportunity to showcase what we do on popular Ladies Days across the summer, whilst also supporting Cancer Research UK.
Last week was Women’s Sport Week, so it couldn’t be a better time to start my new Silk Series blog and share some of my thoughts on my experiences as a female professional athlete in Great Britain.
As you may or may not be aware, racing is one of the only sports in the world where men and women compete directly against each other.
I’m definitely a believer that given the right opportunities, women can perform just as well as men as professional jockeys. Over the years, however, those opportunities have not always been as forthcoming as they should be for whatever reason.
In France, the racing authorities have looked to address this issue by giving weight allowances for female riders. It’s recently been reported that it has led to more rides for female jockeys in France, so it will be interesting to see how it plays out in the long term.
I like to think that at the end of my career I can look back at however many winners I’ve ridden safe in the knowledge that it was my skill and talent as a jockey that got me there on a level playing field. Obviously, I hope that this is a few years and plenty of winners away yet, though!
My main plan is to continue to knuckle down and work hard with my jockey coach and for my boss Richard Hannon and his owners to make sure that I do my job to the best of my abilities and have faith in my skill as a jockey. Everyone in the yard was delighted with Barney Roy’s brilliant win in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot last week and my hope is obviously that I’ll be able to ride such good horses in such prestigious races in the future.
I do believe, however, that initiatives such as The Silk Series are a boost and will hopefully give me and other women the opportunity to possibly ride for some different trainers and owners whilst continuing to develop as jockeys.
I was following news from Women’s Sport Week on social media last week and I’d recommend having a look back at The Silk Series Twitter and Instagram accounts as they profiled some of the top women riding in Great Britain at the moment over the course of the week.
There are hundreds of examples of top sportswomen in this country, as Women’s Sport Week showed and I’m looking forward to continuing to help to show off how many top jockeys count in that number too!