Ladies' Day events to feature new trophy for female jockeys

October 6, 2016

For racing fans attending events such as the Cheltenham Festival and Epsom, Ladies' Day is often the best occasion to be there.

Not only are there some wonderful outfits and remarkable hats on display, but these dates also offer a feast of great racing, with some of the finest contests of each festival taking place there.

However, some Ladies' Days are to be given a new twist with the launch of a new competition for female jockeys only, called the Silk Series. The winner will be presented with the Tufnell Trophy, named after the late Meriel Tufnell MBE, who was Britain's first female champion jockey in 1972. There will also be a prize fund of at least £100,000.

The tournament will run from May to August 2017 and feature races at nine venues on Ladies' Day: Lingfield Park, Chepstow, Great Yarmouth, Newcastle, Brighton, Wolverhampton, Bath, Royal Windsor and Doncaster.

All these racecourses are owned by ARC, which has teamed up with Cancer Research UK. A donation of 75p for each ticket sold will go to the charity, a poignant move given that Meriel Tufnell herself died of cancer in 2002.

The format will see a sliding scale of points awarded in a similar way to Formula One, with up 20 for the winner and two for the sixth place rider.

Amateur jockey Hayley Moore said: "This will be a great boost to the opportunities available to female amateur jockeys next year.

"It is always positive to have a chance to race against professional jockeys for good prize money on racedays  with big crowds and The Silk Series promises to deliver all of these things.

"I hope to have the chance to ride in several of the races and even have a go at competing for The Tufnell Trophy.

The timing of the announcement is not coincidental, as it has come in Women's Sports Week.

For fans of Ladies' Days, Cheltenham 2017's version will fall on March 15th. It will feature races such as the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle and the Betfred Queen Mother Champion Chase.

By Sam Coates

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