Wally’s Wagers: Girl power takes charge

Wally's Wagers with Darren Walters

Wally's Wagers with Darren Walters

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A fantastic performance from the girls gave them their first Shergar Cup victory at Ascot last weekend.

The girls cruised to victory with 80 points, beating of their nearest challengers Great Britain and Ireland, who could only manage 63 points on the day.

Star apprentice Sammy­Jo Bell deservedly took all the headlines, winning the silver saddle. The Malton-based jockey has had a fantastic season already at Richard Fahey’s yard, with an impressive amount of winners under her 3lb claim.

Considering no female jockey has ever won the prize before, it’s an amazing achievement for her and a great boost to women riders.

Something that should be addressed is the lack of opportunities in the game for women riders.

All trainers and owners are wanting to book the big names like a Ryan Moore or a Frankie Dettori and I can’t argue with that.

Considering sometimes the prize money available in certain races, you want the best to give you the best chance of winning.

After these two it then becomes a pecking order and unfortunately evidence shows the women are at the bottom of this.

Apart from Hayley Turner and Amy Ryan, who only had a ride each at the Royal meeting at Ascot in june, no other female jockey took part. You would have to go all the way back to 1987 to find Gay Kelleway as the only female rider to win a race at Royal Ascot.

Is there still a prejudice about women in horse racing? You would probably have to say yes, one thing that was highlighted Saturday to me was when everything is equal and fair there is no doubt that gender is completely irrelevant in riding a horse.

I hope the success from Saturday is not short lived because in­Bell and Rachel Richardson we have two fantastic local jockeys that are making big names for themselves.

The ride that Richardson gave King Of Paradise last week at Haydock was to me the ride of the week, she just kept finding more, was impressively strong in the finish, and I was pleased to see my money being well spent.

With the Ebor Festival nearly upon us, I can appreciate people not wanting to indulge too much into this weekend’s racing.

If you fancy a bet, the two races I would concentrate on are the Great St Wilfrid Stakes at Ripon and the Hungerford Stakes at Newbury.

Home Of The Brave is definitely going the right way, his performance at the Curragh last time out would have pleased trainer Hugo Palmer no doubt.

If he runs, the Hungerford Stakes at 3.45 should be ideal in repeating his last run, odds of around 5/1 shouldn’t be missed.

Barnet Fair and Algar lad are the two horses I can’t split for Saturday’s Great Wilfrid Stakes at Ripon.

Providing the ground does not go too soft I can see Barnet Fair being very competitive off his current mark. Algar Lad is another who has been running well in defeat.

It’s only a matter of time before he gets his head in front. Back them both to win in what will be a tough race.

Wally’s Wagers

Home of the Brave 3.45 - Newbury 5/1.

Barnet Fair or Algar - 3.30 Ripon Both around 12/1.