Currie counts on Raising Sand to mark historic first

QEII’s first female jockey relies on old ally in big race

  • Friday 18 October
  • News
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Nicola Currie will create history at Ascot when she becomes the first female to ride in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, on her favourite horse Raising Sand.

Currie’s two biggest wins in the saddle have come on Jamie Osborne’s seven-year-old, and encouragingly both were at Ascot.

Something of a course specialist, Raising Sand ran too badly to be true last time out for a horse usually so consistent – and Currie is happy to forgive and forget that effort.

Given his liking for Ascot and soft ground, Currie hopes there is every chance he could outrun his 66-1 odds – while admitting it is a steep rise in grade.

“I think it’s only right that it’s on him, given what he’s done for my career,” she said of her ground-breaking ride.

“As jockeys, we all need to come across a horse like him that gets your name out there and gives you those opportunities, so it’s very exciting.

“I hadn’t realised I was going to be the first female rider in the race until someone brought it up on Thursday. But I’m delighted – I’m all about reaching goals that other people haven’t done, so to have the opportunity is great.”

Currie admits she has already visualised a big-race victory.

“Obviously I’ve played it over in my head, winning it!” she said.

“I think we all do in big races like this. The chances of it are what they are – it’s horse racing at the end of the day, but I’m going to enjoy being part of it, especially on my old mate.

“We have to go for it. We’ve put a line through his last run, he came out of it fresh and well as normal, and we were just shocked because he’s such a consistent horse, but we’ve got to remember that at the end of the day they are animals.

“The big field should help, because on a hold-up horse it gives you something to aim at. Better for him 16 runners than six – it means we won’t have to change much, (and) that should give us more pace to aim at hopefully.”

Currie is on the verge of her 50th winner of the year – and while most would count that as success, the Scot was hoping for more after her breakthrough year last season.

“The season has been quite disappointing in terms of I wanted to get over 100 this year and I’m not going to,” she said.

“I had over 80 last year – so the 100 was the goal – but with injuries and other things, I accepted a while ago it wasn’t going to happen, so there’s been no stress.

“This has been my first year without a claim, and I can aim at it next year. I’m still riding every day, so that’s good, and I’ve joined up with Mr Osborne – so I can’t complain at all.

“We’ve had an incredible number of seconds this year, which has been frustrating, but you can’t complain at that because you’d be more disappointed if they were falling out the back of the TV!

“We’ve plenty to look forward to in the winter. I hope we can keep the ball rolling and change those seconds into winners.”

QIPCO British Champions Day takes place on October 19 at Ascot Racecourse. For tickets go to britishchampionsday.com

Currie counts on Raising Sand to mark historic first
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