The world of Horse Racing is notoriously difficult for women to make breakthroughs. Despite the success of American jockey Julie Krone and two-time Grand National winning trainer Jenny Pitman, the ladies are still facing an uphill struggle. There have been notable big-race successes in recent years, and we have picked out five ladies who are aiming to break down more barriers in the coming years.
Gai Waterhouse is one of the leading trainers in Australia and sometimes referred to as “the first lady of Australian racing.” She trained her first Group 1 winner in 1992, her first year as a licenced trainer. In 1994 she took over the Tulloch Lodge Stable from her father, Tommy J. Smith. She has gone on to unprecedented success, including over 135 Group 1 victories and seven Sydney Trainers’ Premierships.
In 2007, Waterhouse was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame. She trained Nothin’ Leica Dane to finish second in the Melbourne Cup in 1995 but had to wait until Fiorente in 2013 to taste success in the big race.
Jamie Kah is one of trio of top-flight lady jockeys in Australia. She, along with Linda Meech and Raquel Clark, finished in the top six in terms of winners last year. Kah rode her first winner in 2012 and picked up valuable experience riding work in Europe for leading Newmarket trainer Sir Michael Stoute.
Kah did not make the big breakthrough until 2016/17 when she rode 129 winners, a new record for a lady rider in Australia. She won her third Adelaide Jockey’s Premiership the following year and made the move to Melbourne in 2019. Harlem provide her with a first Grade 1 success at the Australian Cup at Flemington.
American rider Sophie Doyle has racing in her blood. She is the daughter of former trainer Jacqueline Doyle and sister to leading European jockey James Doyle. She was a successful apprentice rider in the UK before making the bold move to California in 2013.
Doyle had spent two winters as a work rider in the United States and believed she had better prospects there than in the UK. After moving to the Kentucky circuit, she enjoyed Grade 2 victories aboard Fioretti and Street Band. The latter provided her with her first Grade 1 success in the Cotillion Stakes in 2019.
Doyle is very popular with punters in the US and in Europe. OLBG.com provides daily predictions for horseracing for race meetings across the globe. The Online Betting Guide has been established for 18 years and leaves no stone unturned in the search for winners. There are trainer and jockey stats, detailed racecourse information and a very lively horse racing tips forum.
You need to be able to take the knocks in National Hunt racing, but they don’t come much tougher than Ireland’s Rachael Blackmore. She gained her first experience in point-to-point races before turning professional in 2015.
Blackmore became the first female winner of the Conditional Jockeys’ title in Ireland in 2016/17, including victory in the £100,000 Leinster National. She quickly rode out her claim and formed a very successful partnership with trainer Henry De Bromhead.
Her first Cheltenham Festival victory came aboard A Plus Tard in 2019 and Grade 1 success followed on 50-1 outsider Minella Indo in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. She returned to the festival in 2020 for further Grade 1 glory on Honeysuckle in the Mares’ Hurdle.
Venetia Williams hit the headlines when training 100-1 outsider Mon Mome to win the Aintree Grand National in 2009. She learned her trade when working for leading trainers Martin Pipe and John Edwards before being granted a licence in 1995.
Williams also won the valuable Hennessy Gold Cup and King George VI Chase with Teeton Mill in 1998. In 2009 she landed a Cheltenham Festival double with Kayf Aramis and Something Wells. She is particularly adept at training staying chasers and is based in Herefordshire, England.