Trends & Features

The Most Successful Women in Horse Racing

In the past, we have seen the world of horse racing to be very male-dominated…

In the past, we have seen the world of horse racing to be very male-dominated… but as is the case in the world of competitive sport, in horse racing, women are starting to have a much bigger impact. Although there is still some way to go, some have already made their mark. Here are some of the most successful and influential players in the world of horse racing…

Katie Walsh 

First, we have one of Ireland’s top jockeys  – who has achieved seriously impressive victories, including in the Grand National.

Katie Walsh is a hugely successful Irish jockey who has left quite a mark on horse racing. She comes from a family that is deeply rooted in the sport – her father and brother are both accomplished jockeys. Walsh herself went on to get her own fair share of attention for her performances… particularly in high-profile events like the Grand National. 

Memorably, in 2012, she rode Seabass to a remarkable third place, defying the horse racing odds and setting a record as the highest-placed female jockey in the race’s history. This success has made her one of the most successful female figures in the sport – who has inspired aspiring both male and female jockeys and exemplified the real talent and determination of women in horse racing.

Hollie Doyle 

Then we have Hollie Doyle, a rising star in British horse racing, who has quickly made a massive impact on the sport. Her talent and dedication have seen her reach heights that she might never have foreseen. 

In 2019, she broke records by getting 116 wins – in one single year, which was a new record for a female jockey in Britain. Her skill and consistency have led her to lots of victories in some of the most prestigious races – and raised her profile in the racing world. Most notably, she won at the British Champions Day at Ascot. Ultimately, Doyle’s achievements have completely broken down gender barriers and earned her widespread recognition – where she is now widely considered a trailblazer for female jockeys, responsible for inspiring a new generation of riders.

Hayley Turner

Known for being the first female jockey to win a Group 1 race outright in the UK, Turner has an incredible career… which is getting better and better.

Turner is a distinguished British jockey – and she has broken barriers and set records in the world of horse racing. She made history in 2008 when she became the first female jockey in 18 years to win a Group 1 race in Britain, where she rode Dream Ahead to victory at Newmarket. 

Since then, her skill and determination have earned her all sorts of accolades, and she has demonstrated her talent in competitions all over the world. Indeed, her achievements go way beyond gender boundaries. From day one, she has consistently proven her skills in the saddle, where she quickly captured the attention of the racing community with her incredible performances – and she has become a real role model for aspiring female jockeys.

Mickaelle Michel

Over the English Channel, we have Mickaelle Michel, a French jockey, who has made waves in horse racing with her impressive skills and achievements. She made a name for herself by becoming the first female jockey to win a title at the Japan Racing Association – which was a huge milestone in the sport’s history. 

From thereon in, her determination and talent have earned her recognition all over the world and broken down barriers in this male-dominated field. Her success in Japan not only showcased her riding ability, but it has also encouraged more women to take part in top-level racing competitions across the world. 

Lizzie Kelly 

Last on our list, we have British jockey Lizzie Kelly, who made history as the first female jockey to win a Grade One race in Britain. Her impressive achievement in 2015 – when she rode Tea For Two at the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase made her a star in the sport.  

Beyond her wins, it was Kelly’s career that broke barriers for other female jockeys – and she was the inspiration for more aspiring women to pursue a career in horse racing. 

These are just some of the women who have helped women break into ‘ a man’s world’… and we’re looking forward to many more who are sure to follow in their footsteps.


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