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Monday, 12 November, 2018

'I have proved myself but I would love to have my claim back'

Three leading riders give their take on the fight for weighing room equality

Hollie Doyle lost her claim at the end of 2017
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Gemma Tutty

Northern-based apprentice welcomes BHA initiative but any changes may come too late for her, as she completes a degree in psychology and counselling 

I've had 49 winners and if there's a 50-winner apprentice race I could phone every trainer going and still find myself struggling to get a ride, while some lad who's ridden two winners gets the chance ahead of me. It's been going on for years. Before I moved back to ride for Mum and do the degree, I would ride out five out of six days a week at other yards. When the declarations came out I would see an apprentice jocked up who had never set foot in the yard. Girls have learnt to take it on the chin but we shouldn't accept it.

Hollie Doyle

Rode 59 winners in 2017 and has made a good start to life without her claim

Strength can be a help in becoming a good jockey but you also need to be tactically aware, which has nothing to do with gender. I think I've been treated similarly to other male apprentices. You get the occasional big, headstrong horse where the trainer might prefer a lad but it doesn't happen very often. There's a large variety of trainers using me, which is great. I think it's hard whatever gender you are, being an apprentice and working from the bottom up and not many people ever lose their claim. Women riders are getting more opportunities and given the right horses are just as good.

Lucy Alexander

The former champion conditional would welcome the introduction of a French-style weight allowance for women.

My first two seasons I was very much in fashion. My problem has been more with injuries and since I was champion conditional I have been injured every three to six months. It’s very hard for anyone, never mind a girl, to get any momentum. I have proved myself on the level playing field and, in the position I’m in now, I would love to have my claim back. It has worked a bit in France as far as I understand. Josephine Gordon rode 100 winners last year and I can see why people want to do it without the claim. But it’s not a question of how good you are so much as getting more opportunities.


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I could phone every trainer going and still find myself struggling to get a ride, while some lad who's ridden two winners gets the chance ahead of me
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