IT’S NOT been a great couple of days for women in racing. It started with a bang: Al Shaqab taken horses out of Criquette Head-Maarek’s yard! The trainer, famously known for guiding Treve to back-to-back triumph in the Arc, angrily suggested that this decision was all about gender.
This morning then news emerged from ‘Down Under’: Michelle Payne, last years Melbourne Cup winning jockey, has been taken off Prince Of Penzance – she won’t get the chance to steer the horse home on his Cup defending mission.
Well, hang on for a minute. Let’s first ask the question: do women find it generally more difficult to be successful in horse racing? Yes, they probably do. That’s probably fair to say.
But there is a simple reason for it, in fact a simple physical component plays the key role here. Undeniably women don’t have the same physical strengths as men – it’s a simple truth: men and women are different. Psychologically as well as physically.
That doesn’t say women can’t be great jockeys. History has proven they very much can. Only go as far back as last weekend to go to see some strong female riding performances at the Shergar Cup. Wasn’t Hayley Turner’s ride on Early Morning a brilliant piece of riding? Yes it was!
So there it is: women can offset for what they are lacking in pure power and strengths with excellent tactical awareness and forging strong emotional bonds with their equine partner.
However you cant begrudge a trainer who prefer pure strengths in the saddle. Whether one agrees with that or not. It’s their decision to make.
And let’s not forget: male jockey are taken off horses every day; horses moved out of yards too. Ask Luca Cumani, who lost his stable star Postponed not so long ago… chauvinism probably was not the reason, though.
Happy retirement Paul Carberry! Injuries have taken its toll – its over for one the best jump jockeys of all time! But there’s really nothing to be ashamed of – the 42 year old had a glittering career, albeit with some ups and downs, some more more downs rather outside the race track than on it.
A 14 times winner at the Cheltenham Festival, plus a ton of other big race successes, Carberry always strikes me as a cool, calm and collected rider. Holding on to his mount for as long as possible, preserving as much fuel as possible for when it really matters – you got to have a cool head for that. And I admired him for this trait.
Here’s hoping he finds a new opportunity in life which keeps him happy and occupied now that his racing career is over. We know it can be difficult for jockeys to adjust to life after decades in the saddle, when they only know this one way.
2.50 Salisbury: Point of Woods @ 10/1 Coral
4.30 Beverly: Space Mountain @ 6/5 Skybet
6.40 Kempton: Subatomic @ 6/1 WH
7.10 Kempton: Northern Thunder @ 5/1 WH