Thursday 24 January 2019

Five of the seven races at Roscommon last night were won by female jockeys

Jockey Rachael Blackmore. Picture: PA
Jockey Rachael Blackmore. Picture: PA Newsdesk Newsdesk

It was a great evening for lady riders at Roscommon last night after they landed five of the seven races at the track.

Katie O'Farrell got the ball rolling with victory on Pat Kelly's Gailimh Abu at a price of 25/1 in the 5.50 race. The partnership were third jumping the last but powered to victory up the straight.

Rachael Blackmore got the first leg of her double up when she steered Amschel to victory for John O'Shea. The horse drifted in the betting but stayed on strongly for Blackmore to win the Connolly's Red Mills Rated Novice Hurdle at 6/1.

Blackmore currently leads the National Hunt Jockey's Championship and landed her 20th winner of the season when I Keano eased to victory in the Roscommon Racecourse Handicap Hurdle at 12/1.

Jody Townend and Lisa O'Neill won the two bumpers on the card. Townend riding Supreme Trix (7/2) to victory for Willie Mullins in the 8.20 race and O'Neill guided the Gordon Elliott-trained Galvin home in the concluding our Roads (C&G) INH Flat Race at 9/4.

France Galop introduced a weight allowance for female riders in certain races last year but authorities here have been reluctant to follow suit.

A study released earlier this year found the performance of female jockeys is equal to that of their male counterparts.

The study, which was carried out through the Thoroughbred Horseracing Industries MBA at the University of Liverpool, analysed data from a 14-year period and suggests once the quality of the horses they are riding is factored in, the performance of female jockeys is on a par with that of male jockeys.

With 11.3pc of professional licences held by female jockeys, and only 5.2pc of available rides taken by female jockeys during the period of the study, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has reiterated its intention to address the disparity.

Nina Carberry and Katie Walsh called time on their riding careers earlier this year but the next crop of talented female riders appears to be following hot on their heels.

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