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women on the race course
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Carlisle hosted a ladies night with a difference on Monday night. Rather than celebrating lady racegoers, the races were restricted to lady riders. This is the 10th year that the meeting his taken places and has proven very popular with both participants and racegoers how the evening panned out race by race.

VL Aesthetics Honours Lesley Maxwell Handicap (For Professional And Amateur Female Jockeys) 5f

John Quinn’s charge Yukon Mission 4/1 chance finally got her head in front where it mattered at the 19th attempt, this time under Josephine Gordon. The combination were three quarters of a length too good for the 7/2 favourite Wade’s Magic at the post. Talking after the race the winning jockey said that her mount had been very unlucky up until this point but had been very consistent. She added that the run of the rail and the stiff track helped as she’d probably be better over six furlongs. 

VL Aesthetics Honours Shona Cunningham Handicap (Pro-Am Female Jockeys) (Jockey Club Sprint Series) 6f

Lord P sprang a 25/1 shock under 16-year-old Fern O’Brien winning by three- and three-quarter lengths on her very first ride. Her father Fergal, who is better known for chasers and hurdlers and currently heads the jump trainers’ winners table trained the gelding. Evidently delighted he tweeted ‘Proud Dad moment – that is the tweet’. Fern only turned 16 on Saturday then becoming old enough to ride in races under rules. Fern is no stranger to riding winners though having five pony racing wins to her name. Fergal told the Racing Post ‘We’re very proud of her. She deserves it as she works very hard in the yard. She’s been riding since she was four or five just messing about with ponies. Sally bought her a racing pony when she was 12 and she’s been going at it since then really.

VL Aesthetics Honours Ann Ford Handicap (For Professional And Amateur Female Jockeys) 1m 1f

5/1 chance Strawman under Gemma Tutty pipped the 7/4 favourite detective in the final stride to deprive Josephine Gordon a quick-fire double on the meeting. Beaten only a short head the result might have been different had the runner-up not jinked inside the final furlong.

PC Abs Ahmed Memorial Race Handicap (For Professional And Amateur Female Jockeys) Im

Nigel Tinkler’s charge Strangerontheshore winning at 3/1 under Faye McManoman became the first market leader on the card to oblige and the pilot’s 63rd winner of her career and the 13th of the season. Favourite backers would have been made to sweat before going to draw from their bookies. The filly was held up towards to the rear then had to switch before running on inside the final furlong to win by half a length. The winning pilot, who has a good record at Carlisle, said that her mount ran on well once she had a clear run, she added that she’d been unlucky last time and is the sort of filly you don’t want to get to the front too soon on.

PC Abs Ahmed Memorial Race Handicap (For Professional And Amateur Female Jockeys) (Div II) 1m

Racegoers were treated to another fantastic finish when Chinese Spirit under Laura Pearson got up on the line to win a neck depriving 5/1 chance Only The Brave under Brodie Hampson. The winner returned the 7/4 favourite, like London buses these jollies aren’t they. 

VL Aesthetics Honours Leona Hull Handicap (For Professional Female Jockeys) 1m

Old New made up for being unlucky on his last two runs to win under Joanna Mason returning 10/3 favourite making it jolly number three on the night and keeping up the London bus metaphor. Linda Stubbs’ charge had to battled hard to fend off the determined challenge of Tangled under double seeking Gemma Tutty. Riding her 24th winner of the season the winning jockey said her mount should have won the on his last two outings having been pipped in photos and thought he’d won at Yarmouth when beaten a nose. She added that he did it nicely today, got a nice split and showed a good turn off foot and a lovely attitude. 

VL Aesthetics Honours Deborah Earl Handicap (For Pro-Am Female Jockeys) (Jockey Club Stayers Series) 2m1f

Three fought out the finish of the marathon with just three necks separating them at the line. The race was ultimately won by 11/2 chance Be My Sea trained by Tony Carroll and ridden by Mollie Phillips. Despite the fairly narrow winning margin, the 10 year-old gelding never really looked like being collared by the 85/40 favourite under Megan Nicholls. The race was marred by Micky Hammond’s Stormin Norman breaking down which resulted in jockey Becky Smith being unseated. The yard were evidently devastated, they tweeted that the horse was bought to run in the memory of jockey Becky and sister Gemma’ dad Norman concluding ‘Fly high Norman you will always be loved and in our thoughts’. As much as we love our sport with all its highs, the lows can be crushing for connections, and all involved with any horse that is lost. 

VL Aesthetics Honours Pam Eland Handicap (For Professional And Amateur Female Jockeys) 1m3f

Anyone who bets in running might wish to forget this race concluding race on the card because it’s a fair bet cobblers were done by some that bet in that sphere. Josephine Gordon’s mount Iolani was slowly away then trailed the field for much of the race hitting 75/1 in running. On the other hand of course those in-running players are also pretty good at spotting something that starts to go through the gears. That’s exactly what the gelding did approaching the furlong marker making rapid headway to pick up, join the pass the field showing a tremendous turn of foot to provide his mount with a first and last race double on the night. The winner returned a well-fancied 4/1 from 9/2 which probably ensured that bookmakers came out on the wrong side of the ledger with just Lord P’s 25/1 win coming to their rescue. Also in the field, Fern O’Brien rode very creditably on her dad’s charge Lockdown Dream to finish fourth. Quite a night to remember for a potential future star in the saddle, a highlight of a fantastic fixture and concept.

Simon Nott

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