Maryline Eon to make history with Prix de Diane ride
Maryline Eon will enter the record books on Sunday when she becomes the first female jockey to ride in the Group 1 Prix de Diane at Chantilly.
Eon, 22, rides outsider Yellow Storm for boss Alain Couetil and her participation in the French Oaks marks another significant milestone for women in racing.
"I'm happy! It isn’t every day that you ride in a race like the Prix de Diane Longines. Besides I'm the first woman to to ride in it and I would never have thought I would get to do so.
It's a meeting I always follow in front of the television. I can’t completely take it in at the moment, what the parade and everything will be like. For now I don’t feel any pressure. That will certainly come on the day. But I know my filly and I'm not stressed. "
In March, a 2kg allowance was introduced in France for female riders in all races below Class 1 level in an attempt to provide them with more opportunities.
Figures released this month showed women had more than 300 additional rides during the first three months that the allowance has been in operation compared to the same period last year – a 39 per cent increase.
However, Eon, the reigning women's Cravache d'Or, will not be granted the allowance in the Prix de Diane making her place in the field all the more noteworthy.
Speaking last week, Eon said: "The allowance has really helped me a lot. I saw a few of the articles in Britain where some of the girls were critical of the change here, if not outright disgusted. But it seems to me that in England you are leaving things more to chance.
"There are some good riders in Britain, but what you need to understand is that France is a much more 'macho' country and that many trainers here are much more reluctant to give women a chance.
"It's very hard for women in France to get on the right horses and to prove themselves, with the right trainers and for the best owners."
Yellow Storm is the lowest rated filly in the Prix de Diane, but she does come into the race off the back of a win in a 1m3½f last time.
A total of 16 fillies have been declared for Sunday's Classic, headed by the Musidora Stakes winner Shutter Speed, with Rhododendron set to represent trainer Aidan O'Brien.
Shutter Speed has been drawn in stall 14 and is set to be partnered by Frankie Dettori, who has been recovering after a fall in the parade ring at Yarmouth on Tuesday.
Rhododendron has been handed stall 11, Terrakova, a daughter of Goldikova, is in gate four, while last year's winning trainer Jean-Claude Rouget saddles Onthemoonagain, who breaks from stall ten.