Horse racing is an incredible sport. The horses and sportsmanship are first class, there are entertaining characters and prominent figures, but a big draw is the fact that males and females compete against each other. However, it could be said that in 2021 they didn’t because one female jockey was far too good to compete with. 

With the prominence of women within the sport continually on the rise, we take a look at the top female horse racing jockeys from down the years in the UK and Ireland.

Rachael Blackmore

Since riding her first winner in February 2011, Irish jockey Rachael Blackmore has gone from strength-to-strength. She has established herself as one of the best in the Irish weighing room and has formed a particularly deadly partnership with Henry de Bromhead in recent years. The duo combined for Blackmore’s first Cheltenham winner in 2019 when A Plus Tard bolted up to win the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase and they followed that up a few days later when Minella Indo was victorious in the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.

Her first Grade One success came on the De Bromhead-trained Honeysuckle on Easter Sunday in 2019 and she ended that season with 90 winners. That figure saw her finish runner-up in the Irish jockeys’ championship.

Those triumphs are dwarfed however by the record-breaking year she had in 2021, recording an incredible 11 Grade Ones, becoming the leading jockey at the Cheltenham Festival, winning the Grand National and landing the BBC World Sport Star of the Year in the process. There really is no one else like Rachael Blackmore.

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Rachael Blackmore is one of the most successful female jockies around.

Hollie Doyle

Hollie Doyle is rewriting the flat racing history books and taking her code by storm. She is the first female jockey to ride five consecutive winners on a card and most recently broke her own record of British winners ridden in a year (117).

Big race wins over across the globe followed suit, and the accomplishments did not stop there. After gaining national recognition for her talents, Doyle achieved a very respectable third in BBC’s Sports Personality Of The Year 2020. She capped off yet another wonderful summer last year with her second Group One in the Goodwood Cup Stakes.

She is a shining light for British racing and a long career awaits.

Josephine Gordon

Josephine Gordon was the second female of just three to ride 100 winners in a calendar year, setting a record of 106 rides when she completed the century. In 2016, Gordon became the Champion Apprentice Jockey, becoming the third female to win the prestigious award after Hayley Turner and Amy Ryan. She won her first big handicap in the Victoria Cup at Ascot in 2017.

Hayley Turner

Hayley Turner is considered to be the first female jockey to have sustained a day-in, day-out successful career as a jockey at the highest calibre. She became the first female to ride 100 Flat winners in a calendar year, during a period where she rode in over 900 races. Her major wins include the July Cup and the Nunthorpe Stakes, both in 2011. She also became the first jockey to win at Royal Ascot in 32 years aboard Thanks Be in 2019.

Bryony Frost

The 2019 Jump Jockey of the Year has enjoyed a memorable rise to fame and has become one of the most well-regarded jockeys in the British weighing room. Perhaps Bryony Frost’s most well-known success came at the 2019 Cheltenham where she claimed a landmark victory aboard Frodon in the Ryanair Chase. It came after the 26-year-old sustained a terrible injury in 2018 and the brilliant victory on the Paul Nicholls-trained horse meant she was only the second woman to win a Grade One National Hunt race.

Black Corton and Bryony Frost clear the last fence before going on to win The Sodexo Reynoldstown Novices’ Steeple Chase Race.

Lizzie Kelly

Lizzie Kelly made history in 2015 as she became the first ever female jockey to win a National Hunt Grade One race in Britain. She then went on to win Europe’s richest handicap hurdle aboard Agrapart at Newbury, while she also became only the second woman to ride in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2017 aboard Coo Star Sivola, before retiring in 2020.

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