Bryony Frost claimed a double at Southwell as the track celebrated
International Women’s Day with a mixed Flat and jumps card open
only to female jockeys.
Frost took a ride in each of the four National Hunt races – while the
Flat contests drew trail-blazer Hayley Turner, the
first woman to win a Group One outright, and Hollie Doyle, winner of more races across a calendar year than any other female rider.
The first leg of Frost’s pre-Cheltenham double came in the N. & L. Franklin Developments Ltd Female Jockeys’ Handicap Chase – in which she partnered Neil King’s 11-1 shot Silent Steps.
The nine-year-old was handed the race when Donald McCain’s Pinch Of Ginger, tiring after leading comfortably into the home straight, unshipped the trainer’s daughter Abbie at the second-last and left Frost free to canter to a nine-length victory.
After a switch to the Fibresand for the five-furlong Betway
Female Jockeys’ Handicap, won by Doyle aboard Derek Shaw’s 3-1
chance Final Legacy, Frost enjoyed her second success in as many rides.
She partnered Lucy Wadham’s Eclair De Guye in the Bud Light Female Jockeys’ Handicap Chase, a race in which four of the five runners were trained by women.
The grey drew level with Virnon over the final fence, before pulling clear for a length-and-a-half victory at 2-1.
Asked about the increasing profile of female jockeys, Frost said: “I think with hard work we can go anywhere.
“The horses don’t know who you are – you can be anyone from any
background if they like the way that you ride.
“You’ve got to believe in your ability out there as well – if you’re
second-guessing yourself, the horse will too.
“You have to be confident and you have to be brave and try and find that rhythm.”
Frost last year became the first female jockey to ride a Grade
One winner over jumps at the Cheltenham Festival, when she and Frodon prevailed in the Ryanair Chase.
She said: “I never started out trying to be someone to break the mould or go into the history books.
“But there’s got to be somebody who does it first, and it’s pretty cool to say you were that person – because nobody can take that away from you.”
Megan Nicholls registered a double of her own on the card too, taking two of the four Flat races.
She won the Heed Your Hunch At Betway Female Jockeys’ Handicap aboard 15-8 chance Wasntexpectingthat.
Richard Fahey’s four-year-old, who defeated 6-4 favourite Highland Dress, has either won or finished runner-up in seven consecutive starts – all over six furlongs at all-weather tracks.
Nicholls is a three-time winner of the Silk Series, an Arena Racing
Company initiative of 17 women-only Flat races in a
championship worth more than £170,000.
She confirmed she intends to target the prize again, with the help of Fahey.
Nicholls said: “Mr Fahey is a brilliant supporter of these ladies’ days.
“He’ll always send as many as he can to support the girls, so it’s a
The 3lb claimer also struck in the Betway Casino Female Jockeys’ Handicap, aboard her father Paul’s 5-2 chance Oleg.
Elsewhere on the card, amateur riders came to the fore.
Antonia Peck rode George Boughey’s Three C’s to his third win of the season in the Bombardier Golden Beer Female Jockeys’ Handicap.
The six-year-old has been remarkably consistent at Southwell this term and scored again at 6-1 by a length and quarter from Mick Appleby’s 15-8 favourite Motawaafeq.
“I was having to push him along a bit – but once he’s up there in front,
he’s great,” said Peck.
“He’s never been in the kickback before, so I was trying to keep him out of that – but he was just brilliant.”
Becky Smith steered Ladronne to his second successive victory, by 27 lengths, in the Bud Light Female Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.
Last seen triumphing at Newcastle under the debut ride of
international show-jumper Joe Whitaker, Tjade Collier’s 11-2 shot was
almost impeded by the loose Ostuni – who had parted company with Frost over the first flight.
But the six-year-old left the field behind over the second-last hurdle, and eased home.
Frost was denied a treble, having to settle for a distant second on Willie Butler, as Lilly Pinchin and Dublin Four won the N. & L. Franklin Developments Ltd Female Jockeys’ Maiden Hurdle by 15 lengths.