Female British jockeys against allowance

Group One-winning jockey Hayley Turner says she would be disappointed if Britain followed France by giving female riders a weight allowance, labelling the move unfair.

France Galop has announced it will introduce a 2kg allowance for female jockeys in the majority of races, both on the Flat and over jumps.

Although Listed and Group races will be exempt, France Galop said last week the move would cover around 90 per cent of the French program as the ruling body attempts to increase opportunities for female riders.

Turner, who was crowned joint-champion apprentice in 2005 with Saleem Golam, retired at the end of the 2015 Flat season after regularly breaking new ground during her career.

She said she believed female jockeys should compete on a level playing field with men in the interests of fairness.

“It just seems a bit unfair on the lads. It’s a hard job whether you’re male or female and they’re putting in all the groundwork with the long journeys and riding out at the crack of dawn,” Turner said,

“Then the girls are being given 4lb and the lads get nothing, it seems a bit unfair in that respect.

“I’m sure they (British Horseracing Authority) will sit back and watch what happens in France, but I very much doubt it will happen here.

“I’d be disappointed if it did, to be honest.”

Josephine Gordon, last season’s champion apprentice, said she could see both sides but thought it was offensive.

“I think there’s probably pros and cons to it,” she said.

“I think an allowance would give a lot more females more opportunities to get rides at lower weights, but personally, I find it a bit offensive.

“Last year I had a claim and was competing against the male apprentices and I won it (apprentice title) fair and square.”

Jane Elliott, who rode two winners last week, also feels giving female riders an allowance would be something of an insult.

“It’s a bit of a shock. Obviously allowances have been mentioned before, but I think it can almost come across as a bit patronising,” she told At The Races.

“If you did get a 4lb allowance, I’d be expecting to get five rides a day in handicaps.

“It’s such a big amount of weight to be giving jockeys.”

Leading male jockey Adam Kirby is also against it.

“It’s ridiculous, isn’t it?” Kirby said.

“Racing is improving and I think apprentices are all given a fair crack at it these days, as long as they work hard and go about the job properly.

“Four pounds is two lengths. I appreciate women might not be as strong as boys, but riding in races is not about strength, it’s about positioning, rhythm and things like that.”

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