Twenty-three-year-old Meriel Tufnell raced in a clear winner of Britain's first flat race for women at Kempton Park racecourse near London on Saturday (6 May).
Twenty-three-year-old Meriel Tufnell raced in a clear winner of Britain's first flat race for women at Kempton Park racecourse near London on Saturday (6 May). Miss Tufnell, who's been riding since she was three, brought off the surprise win before a predominately male crowd on her mother's five-year-old mare Scorched Earth -- who'd never before been in a flat race.
Miss Tufnell's prize for riding the winner of the nine-furlongs race -- the Goya Stakes -- was a bottle of perfume presented by the event's sponsors, a cosmetics firm. But her mother, as the winning owner, won a purse of 1,033 Sterling.
The 21 women who took part in the event, all licensed as amateur riders, handled their horses with near-professional competence.
The race marked the "coming of age" of women in the predominately male sport of racing. For over 200 years, the venerable all-male Jockey Club, Britain's racing authority, refused to recognise women in any active capacity. And it's only been six years since they relaxes the barriers to permit women to train horses.
But Saturday's race is the first of a dozen women riders' events to be held this season as an experiment.