Who Are the Most Famous Female Jockeys?
Female horse racing is on the up and is one of the few sports where women can safely hold their own against their male counterparts, which is a breath of fresh air. In this article, we’ll look at five of the most famous female jockeys in the world right now.
Have you got a favourite female jockey? Whether it’s jockey Rachel Blackmore or the up-and-coming Hollie Doyle, we’re sure that you’ll find this article interesting.
Hayley Turner is one of the more successful female jockeys in UK horse racing history, riding her way to more than 1,500 wins, which is an insanely impressive achievement. She first made a splash in 2011, when she became the first female jockey to win a BGO race, taking home the win at Newmarket, competing in the July Cup and riding Dream Ahead.
Despite officially retiring in 2015 to pursue a career in ITV broadcasting, she returned to action three years later, being a key member of the team that won at Royal Ascot in 2018. She has so many great achievements but the best, according to many, was when she became the first female jockey in 32 years to win at Royal Ascot a year later.
Hollie Doyle is considered an up-and-coming star in the world of horse racing and had an incredible 2019 season, riding 116 winning horses and breaking the female record, despite her youth. The record she broke was previously held by another of our featured jockeys, Josephine Gordon, who had ridden an equally impressive 106 horses. Doing this meant she became the third female jockey to register more than 100 wins in a calendar year.
Things looked set to be just as good, if not better, in the 2020 season, when she was just 20 years old, as Doyle had already managed to record 35 wins before the pandemic forced the racing season to be ended prematurely. While this did rob her of another potentially record-breaking season, it hasn’t looked like she has slowed down at all, and it feels like she’ll certainly manage to break that record again.
Another rising star in the world of horse racing is Nicola Curie, no relation to Edwina Currie, who is based in Lambourn and can count on the likes of Richard Hughes and Jamie Osbourne among her talented team of trainers, meaning that she has plenty of support. She is from the Isle of Arran, Scotland and rode a total of 30 winning horses last season, winning her the All-Weather Championships.
For winning this incredible achievement, Currie was awarded £4,000, and this will undoubtedly help spur her on for future success. As the female horse racing world continues to grow, the prize monies awarded to female racers should also increase. If you want a clue as to how good Currie is, she’s won 173 races in her career despite still being in her early twenties and was among the first female jockeys to compete in Saudi Arabia.
Josephine Gordon became the third woman jockey to win the Champion Apprentice title in 2016, following inspiration from female jockeys Hayley Turner (mentioned above) and Amy Ryan. She had a slow start to her racing career, going 18 months without a competitive victory before teaming up with John Reid. Since then, she hasn’t looked back and rode over 70 winning horses in 2016, winning several coveted awards.
Alongside Hollie Doyle and Hayley Turner, Gordon has once ridden over 100 winning horses in a calendar year, becoming the second British woman to do so. She struggled to follow up on this fantastic achievement the following year, riding a still respectable 57 winners, which shows how high she has set the bar in recent years.
In keeping with recent online discourse about ‘nepo-babies, Megan Nicholls, daughter of trainer Paul Nicholls, has recently put in some impressive victories and looks set for a great career in the sport. She won the first iteration of the Silk Series, a racing competition created to help provide opportunities for female race jockeys, for which pundits highly praised her.
In 2020, she was signed as a retained rider for the Titanium Racing syndicate and became a York Racecourse ambassador. Recently, Nicholls rode to claim a victory at Wolverhampton and is considered a jockey on the rise. Whether she is good enough to cut it at the very top level long-term remains to be seen, but the early signs are very good.
Rachael Blackmore is a 33-year-old female jockey from Ireland, competing most often in National Hunt racing, when horses have to jump over fences and low ditches during the race. Despite not being one of the younger jockeys on our list, she’s still one to watch and is undoubtedly one of the sport’s most famous, irrespective of gender.
Rachael made history in 2021 when she won the Grand National, making her the first woman to claim victory in the almost 200-year-old competition. This wasn’t a fluke either with her becoming the first leading jockey at Cheltenham Festival, also in 2021, while a year later she won the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the first woman to do so.