Sunday 16 June 2019

Royal Ascot 2019: Nicola Currie to end 32-year female drought

Royal Ascot 2019. 

The start of more stories than you can shake a stick at. Trainers, jockeys, owners and the pageantry and pomp of the Royals. 

There is one thing that you may not see this year because it has been as rare as hen's teeth in previous times. So what am I talking about? The title of the post gives it away, hey. It's the lack of wins for female jockeys. 

In fact, there has been only one female jockey won at the Royal meeting. Girl, has it been that long between drinks? It's been 32-years since Gay Kelleway rode Sprowston Boy to victory in the Queen Alexandra Stakes. 

Is it really that long ago?

Sadly, it seems that Royal Ascot isn't female friendly when it comes to winning rides unlike this year at Cheltenham when Lizzie Kelly, Bryony Frost & Rachel Blackmore all tasted victory. 

Even Hayley Turner, who has won over 800 races on the Flat, has had to play second fiddle at Royal Ascot. Readers may remember she went so close to winning when riding Margot Did for Michael Bell in the Albany Stakes in 2010. 

Last year, Hollie Doyle was runner-up in the Sandringham Handicap. 

What's happening?

Looking at data detailed by the Guardian newspaper, in all 115 rides since 1989 by female jockeys only 10 have hit the frame. The average starting odds being nearer 50/1. 

What does this tell us? Basically, the female jockeys - bar a few exceptions - are riding no-hopers. 

Even Frankie Dettori would struggle to win if he was riding Eeyore the donkey. 

Is this just another sign of sexism in the Sport of Kings? 

It's not so long ago women in the Royal Enclosure where seen as an appendage of their husband when it came to the names on their badges. However, it should be noted that the majority of male jockeys don't even get to ride at the Royal meeting let alone win a race. It's a similar story for apprentice jockeys of both sexes. 

It is a course for the elite jockeys, much to do with the huge prize money on offer, which makes a great payday for those who are led into the winner's enclosure.  

Nicola Currie is this year's leading female apprentice and a rare talent. Jamie Osborne has given her the ride on Raising Sand in Wednesday's Royal Hunt Cup. 

In one of the most competitive races of the week, this son of Oasis Dream, in the ownership of Nick Bradley Racing 22 & Partner, odds of 12/1 look to hold some value. This 7-year-old bay gelding is a course specialist. He won a £100,000 contest last October. Currie has ridden this talented horse on his last four outings and knows him well. 

Could this be the second female winner at Royal Ascot?