Equality of opportunity for female jockeys is still a century away, according to a report published on Sunday. The Diversity In Racing Steering Group, set up by the sport’s ruling body, used its annual update to urge racing people to embrace change and noted with impressive understatement that, to spectators, “some areas of the sport could be seen as out of kilter with modern British society, from the composition of the sport’s leadership and the opportunities afforded to participants”.
As the report points out, racing has benefited from the publicity that goes with female accomplishment in the saddle, as shown this year by stories around Bryony Frost, Rachael Blackmore and Hollie Doyle. But it says: “In 2018, female jockeys took just 8.2% of rides and no women rode in a top-level Group 1 race at all. Encouragingly, we are making progress, but the data trend-line predicts equality in share of rides won’t be reached until approximately 50 years’ time on the Flat, and in roughly a century in jump racing.”
The steering group has set out four objectives for itself, including raising awareness of the importance of diversity in racing and to increase the number of riding opportunities for female jockeys. “This is not just about gender; there are minority groups that are not truly included in our sport … By making racing for everyone, the industry has an opportunity to appeal to the next generation as fans and employees, to sponsors, to government, and to compete with other sports and leisure activities.”
The full report is available here.
Monday’s best bets, by John O’Hara
Few trainers have made it to the century club as fast as Archie Watson, who amassed 105 winners in 2018, his third season as a trainer. He has surpassed that with 130 this year and has maintained a remarkable level of consistency as, for each of the last 37 months, he has sent out two winners or more.
Even as we approach the shortest day, he continues to bang in the winners. It looks worth taking a chance with his maiden juvenile Manap (6.10) at Wolverhampton.
The son of Sepoy had his only run at Lingfield in June when, having proved difficult to load, he was well behind early and, according to his jockey, was running incredibly green. It seems the penny dropped late in the race as he stayed on in the final stages and was nearest at the finish. He hasn’t run for 177 days but Watson has found what appears to be a very weak race. The big danger would be Punting, but Watson has a terrific record for sorting out problems with his horses and Manap will be a very interesting runner at 8-1 or so.
A young rider who is starting to make a name for herself is Page Fuller, a conditional jockey based with in-form trainer Jamie Snowden. Fuller has won 18 races this season, level with her personal best of last term. Of that number, half were for Snowden, but she also struck up a good understanding with Zoe Davison, riding four winners from 22 rides for her this term.
They team up again at Plumpton with Scrutinise (2.15) in the two-mile handicap hurdle. Fuller and the son of Intense Focus finished third, beaten a neck, in their first race together and she got the best out of the seven-year-old to win by five lengths last time at this track. He was given a 6lb hike by the handicapper for that impressive win and that would not appear to be harsh. Even money is available.
Snowden also has a fine chance of adding to his impressive haul this season when Deja Vue (2.35) bids to add to his recent 40-length supremacy at Ffos Las in November. He is back at the Welsh track for the two-mile handicap hurdle and, off an 8lb higher rating, appears to still be on a decent mark. He’s 7-4.
12.10 Diablo De Rouhet 12.40 Highway One O Two 1.10 Mr Perfect 1.45 Battle Of Ideas 2.15 Scrutinise (nb) 2.50 Flaminger 3.20 Little River Boy
12.30 Out The Glen 1.00 Jac Brown 1.30 Some Can Dance 2.05 Thomas Macdonagh 2.35 Deja Vue 3.10 Frankly Speaking 3.45 Fanfaron Dino
Wolverhampton 4.05 Railport Dolly 4.40 Canadian George 5.10 Bahuta Acha 5.40 Augustus Caesar 6.10 Manap (nap) 6.40 Divine Connection
7.10 Pledge Of Honour 7.40 Calin’s Lad