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Grappling With The Gender Gap

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Trainer Brenton Andrews, his jockey wife Billie-Rose and Your My Boy Blue after their Nanango win last Saturday (Photo: Ross Stanley)

Gunsynd's GossipSeptember 19, 2019

An ideal script to promote a new racing movie presented itself nationally last weekend.

“Ride Like A Girl”, the biopic about Michelle Payne, will be released on Thursday, September 26.

On Saturday, lady jockeys rode the program at Nanango.

They also posted a first five, a first four, two quinellas and filled the trifecta in a three-horse race.

Billie-Rose Andrew started the ball rolling with a double on the favourites, Speedy and Your My Boy Blue.

The dissimilar siblings by Exceedingly Good from the grey Canadian Silver mare Silva Nova were saddled up by the jockey’s husband, Brenton.

The victories were the first for Billie-Rose since the birth of the couple’s baby Arthur.

Her previous trip to the winner’s circle was atop The Hooligan at Warwick in June last year.

Chinchilla-based Tessa Townsend also scored on Chamberlain and Marlahn.

The daughter of Charleville trainer Peter Townsend was born at Bourke, grew up in Cunnamulla and has had stints at Charleville and Augathella.

The now three kilogram claimer was beaten a head on Vancouver Star ($26) on her debut ride at Thangool on Australia Day 2019.

She broke through at Taroom on Chamberlain on March 23 before chalking up a treble at Chinchilla on April 13 and has also saluted at Roma, Barcaldine and Cunnamulla.

Her career form line presently stands at 60: 9-8-5.

Townsend’s immediate ambition is to boot home a galloper that her mother, Rhonda Potter, races and her father Peter prepares.

Tessa has partnered Chamberlain on five of the eight occasions that the All American gelding has stepped out for Kumbia conditioner Royce Connolly.

The side has produced three wins and two seconds.

Pat Duff’s apprentice Miki Nakao beamed her usual winner’s smile as she brought Gambit back after the Star Motel Nanango BM 65 Handicap.

Bundaberg’s Laura Cronan, a successful former jockey, put the polish on the chestnut that is not bothered by firm going.

* * *

Tess Townsend brings Marlahn back to the mounting yard after their Lee Park victory ( Photo: Ross Stanley)

Encores Across The Country

Females were in the limelight on stages beyond Lee Park.

In the $750,000 Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington, Jamie Kah pitched in with Gatting ($101).

Shane Warne probably overlooked the long shot by Hard Spun from the Lonhro mare Stubborn.

Other progeny of the sire with sporting flavour names include Perfect Length, Sheik of Tweak, Vicario, Hard To Match, Top Spinner, Bowl a Doosra, The Gatting Ball and Too Hard To Handle.

The starting price of 100/1 was also returned about Payne’s 2015 Melbourne Cup hero Prince of Penzance, Nikita Berriman’s 2007 VRC Emirates Stakes mount Tears I Cry and Clare Lindop’s 2008 Victoria Derby star Rebel Raider.

Payne’s other Group One thrills came courtesy of Bart Cummings’ charge Allez Wonder (40/1) in the 2009 Toorak Handicap and Yosei (2010 AJC Sires Produce Stakes, $18; 2010 One Thousand Guineas, $11; and the 2011 Tatt’s Tiara, $15.)

Meanwhile, at Belmont in Perth, apprentice Jade McNaught claimed an astonishing six races.

For good measure, doubles were recorded over the weekend in Queensland by Zoe White (Toowoomba), Elyce Smith (Thangool), Bonnie Thomson (Cairns), Wendy Peel (Bedourie) and Anna Bakos and Montana Savva (Morven).

Australian women got their first chance to take on the men in 1979.

In the four decades to date, their percentage of the riding ranks has continually expanded.

The metropolitan zone, particularly in major stakes events, is the final bastion to break down when it comes to matching opportunities proportionate to workforce numbers.

Yes, there have been women who have collected city premierships and been feature race heroines over the years.

But there is much more chipping away ahead to get a significant share of the elite level engagements.


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