Top jockey Katie Walsh has labelled Carlisle Racecourse’s #AmazingMonday meeting a “life changing” event for women jockeys.
Katie, the most successful female jockey in Grand National history, said Carlisle’s August 7th meeting – the world’s only all-female jockey race event – was a fantastic showcase for new talent.
Any jockey who rides a winner at #AmazingMonday and then goes on to triumph in the Betfred Ladies’ Trophy Handicap Stakes at Haydock Park five days later – will win the £20,000 Jockey Club North West’s special Development Award for female jockeys.
Katie, an Irish Grand National winner, said: “It’s a fantastic prize that offers a life-changing amount of money to whoever is successful in the series. I just wish that I was able to compete in it!
“The award is a great incentive to help along women jockeys. Racing has come such a long way in the last 10 to 15 years and awards like this can only help raise the profile.
“I wish the best of luck to all those competing. My advice to them is to get their heads down, work hard and to get on the best horses they possibly can.
“You now get some of the best trainers in the UK giving rides to women jockeys if they can prove themselves, that’s another great incentive.”
The Development Award – launched at #AmazingMonday in 2016 – was won for the first time by Cumbria’s very own Emma Sayer, from Hackthorpe, near Penrith. The award was set up to help up-and-coming female talent in the sport.
Emma said: “Winning the award and the two races is definitely the best thing that has ever happened to me in my career. I have never had a feeling like it. I wish I could bottle that feeling and take it round with me.
“The award has provided a window of opportunity for me as you have to look to the future. I invested in a mechanical horse and other riding equipment, put some money aside for racing expenses this summer and into finishing my trainer’s modules.”
Katie and Emma were joined at Haydock Park on Thursday for the official launch of this year’s Development Award by Olympic gold medallist, and #AmazingMonday ambassador, Sam Quek
Hockey star Sam said: “I can’t wait to come up to Carlisle on August 7th and experience my first #AmazingMonday. It’s the world’s only all-female race fixture and that is a massive statement by the Jockey Club North West. Female jockeys are good, they’re damn brave and deserve this recognition. I cannot wait to see who claims the prize.
“It not only takes talent and commitment to get to the top of any sport, but also vital support and this is what this Development Prize offers. It is a great incentive for female jockeys and that prize can help them in so many ways reach their full potential.”
Geraldine McKay, General Manager at Carlisle Racecourse, said: “It was great to have Katie, Emma and Sam at the official launch of the Jockey Club’s Development Award. All three are so passionate about racing and promoting women in this wonderful sport.
“We were delighted Emma won last year’s inaugural Development Award. We cannot wait to see if another young jockey can win what, as Katie so rightly says, is a unique prize which can change lives and really help develop talent in our sport.”
Tickets for #AmazingMonday on Monday August 7th – priced at just £15 – are available by calling 0344 579 3002 or by going to carlisle.thejockeyclub.co.uk