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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

100 not out: Josephine Gordon hopes milestone winner will inspire girls

Josephine Gordon: rode only her second winner as recently as 2015
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Josephine Gordon hopes her achievement of riding 100 winners in a year will help inspire more female jockeys to break through in her wake.

Gordon became just the second woman to ride a century of British winners when she landed the opening maiden at Wolverhampton on Saturday night, steering 10-1 chance Thunderbolt Rocks home for her boss Hugo Palmer.

The 24-year-old emulated the groundbreaking Hayley Turner who, coincidentally, achieved her milestone at the same track in December 2008, and Gordon may well move on to a record-breaking tally of 101 when she next rides on Wednesday.

It is a remarkable achievement for Gordon, who rode only her second winner as recently as 2015 and has now equalled greats such as Ryan Moore (2004) and Frankie Dettori (1990) in riding 100 winners in their first season out of apprenticeship.

Following in her footsteps

On what proved a fine day for female riders, Gordon, last year's champion apprentice, hit the milestone the same day as Hollie Doyle rode out her claim at Lingfield.

Gordon said: "I think there are more girls coming through at the moment and hopefully this milestone will help.

"Hollie Doyle rode out her claim at the weekend and Nicola Currie is another promising jockey who is doing as I did and getting experience with the smaller trainers first." 

Gordon, who at the start of the year relocated from Lambourn to Newmarket to join Palmer's powerful operation, has made a seamless transition to the senior ranks but had to wait to bring up three figures, with her 99th winner coming on November 17.

She said: "It was such a relief to finally get it done on Saturday as the last few weeks have been a struggle but if I remember rightly it was the same when I was riding out my claim. The last five winners seem to take forever and I eventually lost it at Wolverhampton as well on a complete outsider of Geoffrey Deacon's, so you could say the track is my track."

Josephine Gordon: "It was great to do it for Hugo as he's been a big supporter of mine"

On Saturday afternoon, Gordon had headed up the M1 from Lingfield a bit deflated after her sole mount at the Surrey circuit, the Palmer-trained Gulliver, finished last at 11-10.

She added: "I had thought I had chances at Wolverhampton but it was a nice surprise that Thunderbolt Rocks won as we thought a bit of him first time out but he was very disappointing. It was great to do it for Hugo as he's been a big supporter of mine and was the first one to offer me a job when I lost my claim. My agent Phil Shea has also worked his socks off."

After three further unsuccessful mounts, Gordon returned home to Newmarket in the early hours still on cloud nine. "It was a bit of a brutal drive home to be honest as all the roads were shut but I was buzzing all night so it could have taken ten hours for all I cared," she said.

Palmer hails Gordon achievement

Hugo Palmer also paid tribute to Gordon, saying: "It's an incredible achievement by Josie to get to 100 winners and it has come about by a huge amount of talent and a huge amount of hard work.

"She must be long odds-on to beat Hayley's record now and I hope it's not my last winner of the year so hopefully we can get there together. She's been a great ambassador for herself, women in general and our yard."

As to the future, he added: "The amazing thing about Josie is that she has only ridden 204 winners in her entire life. If she stays brave, fit and healthy she could have a remarkable career ahead of her."

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The amazing thing about Josie is that she has only ridden 204 winners in her entire life
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