Frost flies the flag for women jockeys

Leading jumps rider insists gender is no bar to success

  • Thursday 10 October
  • News
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Rising star Bryony Frost believes it is only a matter of time before there is a female champion jockey.

Frost became the second woman, following Lucy Alexander in 2013, to be crowned the leading conditional jockey last season, in a campaign that was headlined by Frodon’s fabulous victory in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

That win in March saw Frost, 24, transcend to the front pages of newspapers across the country and even make the evening news bulletins, as she became the first lady to win a Grade One over jumps at the showpiece meeting.

Frost was not the only female rider to enjoy a stellar 2018/19 season, with Rachael Blackmore cutting a swathe through the ranks in Ireland, eventually finishing runner-up to Paul Townend in the jockeys’ championship.

Blackmore also rode a Grade One winner over hurdles at the Festival – one day after Frodon’s Ryanair verdict – and Frost sees no reason why there cannot be a female champion one day.

Frost feels that “mountain has been climbed” and those that work hard will be suitably rewarded, regardless of gender.

Asked if a woman could ever win the jockeys’ championship, she told the PA news agency: “Why not? If you’re good enough, you ride the winners and clock them up on the tally board and you’ve got people behind you, supporting you, then sure.

“I don’t think there’s any difference in it and I think that sort of mountain has been climbed now. I believe people have stopped seeing me so much as a lady jockey and as just a jockey.

“I want to be on a level playing field, I don’t want any difference because I think that’s what is fantastic about our sport. You’ve got to be good to be the best. It’s not going to be gifted to you, nothing is gifted.

“Rachael was mega out there last year. With (Henry) de Bromhead supporting her, she’s got a good team and like I say, with every good jockey, there’s been a good team.

“You can’t do it by yourself – that’s why I’m very lucky to have some amazing teams around me.

“For Paul (Nicholls) to be supporting me, I still have to pinch myself when I walk through the gates for him to be letting me school one let alone ride one on a track.

“If it happens, when it happens – who knows? Will it have an impact on other sports, who knows that either. I think anything in this world that is positive is always going to have a good look. We’re surrounded by a lot of negativity.”

Rather than rest on her laurels after a memorable campaign, Frost is eager to get cracking as a fully-fledged rider – although her first aim is to avoid prolonged spells on the sidelines, after spending five weeks out of action following her Cheltenham win.

She said: “To have a full season would be great, but (my aim is) also to keep improving.

“I have to keep improving – I am nowhere near as good as I should be and what I can be, so I shall keep kicking, keep wracking my head on every ride where I should have improved – hands, heels or whatever.

“It will all keep getting better. The clock inside your head needs to get better because at the end of the day, you’ve got people snapping at your heels and you’re snapping at other people’s heels.

“I’m just going to get out there and try to get the best results, whatever race it is in.

“You’ve got the big guns, but it takes just as much for the little horse to win as the big ones, so you have to put as much effort in on a rainy Monday afternoon as a big Saturday, so I’ll just try to keep the bosses happy.”

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