The Corner with Garry Chittick

My salute today is to the females who play such an important role in our industry. We all remember the battle Linda Jones had to legitimise female’s entitlement to ride competitively. Now I believe we have just about 50 per cent of our jockeys who are young women, their success here in NZ is the catalyst for gradual acceptance of their skill and courage in Australia. We must acknowledge the stable hands who are also an important part, as our track riders.

Looking at our Trainers list and it seems 30 per cent of our licensed trainers are women. Their success is there for all to judge. Like our jockeys, they have similar percentages of success as their male counterparts.

We here at Waikato could not function without the women in our team. To name any would be unfair but suffice to say every part of our operation has them in a senior role. They come from all parts of the country and the globe and we are privileged to have them here. Times have changed and now I have to pause before dropping the one liners I used to but to be fair, our lot fortunately have a sense of humour and when you spend the time together we all have during the season, no humour would make it a very long five months .

Now I haven’t suddenly sprung to life on this subject because the amazing lady trainer , Gai Waterhouse has trained our three year old filly to win the Flight Stakes. No, I can say hand on heart I said to Mary, another of those women who has played a huge role in our demanding life, ‘remind me to give the girls a plug.’

Then we can’t ignore the females who happily (or who knows) carry the annual crop we all need to keep our race fields at sustainable levels. With a gestation period of 345 days then if fit and well asked to go again, perhaps they may be the most important. Imagine standing on Lampton Quay handing out pamphlets suggesting to women that they breed consecutively annually for the good of the nation, wouldn’t go down too well. Then we have our fillies, these are our young girls, fit and well, who knows if they enjoy being a racehorse but we must acknowledge our horses are not lacking intelligence and have a logical thought process, if they don’t want to run they don’t.

So, girls, young ladies, women – to us blokes you are what you have always been, great to have around and importantly an essential part of doing what we all love.

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