Talking Points with Chris Scholtz

Chris Scholtz looks at racing events and issues making the news.

GIRL POWER 1

On face value the Golden Slipper statistics have changed little when counting the number of male winners to female winners, but scratch the surface and there is no doubt the scales have tipped alarmingly in favour of the fillies over the last decade.

The raw breakdown shows the Golden Slipper has been won by 28 colts, seven geldings and 27 fillies since the first running in 1957.

However recent history is far more relevant and in this regard there is no question the Golden Slipper has become a fillies race.

Since 2010 the fillies have won five times to four colts. Nothing much can be read into that….but look beyond the winners and in the nine runnings since 2010 20 of the 27 placegetters have been fillies including clean sweeps of all three placings in the last two years.

It’s enough to raise the old argument about the weight relief fillies receive off the colts in the Slipper, a debate that raged through in the 1980s and 1990s when the weight difference between the sexes was 3kg.

It took a fillies in trifecta in 2003 for the weight conditions to be changed to the current 56.5kg for colts and geldings and 54.5kg for fillies.

Now the results since 2010 add more fuel to the fire for those who maintain the physics of racing resulting from advances in veterinary science have brought the genders much closer together over the last 30 years.

It’s hard to decry that theory when you stop to think that the four best horses we have seen in Australia in the last 20 years are mares – think Winx, Black Caviar, Makybe Diva and Sunline….but that’s an argument for another day!

GIRL POWER 2

Australia’s female riders are the envy of their counterparts around the world!

Sure, there are many countries who have women riding in races but no major racing nation has accepted the girls as much as we do in Australia.

Australia is now recognised and respected as the country giving female riders the best opportunities to forge a long and successful riding career in racing. New Zealand is not far behind.

If our girls show they have the talent then there is no end to how far they can go with a career in the saddle. Maree Payne’s Melbourne Cup win was history-making but it’s the everyday contribution female jockeys and apprentices are making that have made them a vital cog in the industry.

In NSW, for example, the number of women riding at country meetings can often outnumber the males. Indeed many country meetings wouldn’t go ahead if wasn’t for the availability of female riders such is the number of girl apprentices we now have in country stables.

Many accomplished girls have made big inroads in the metropolitan ranks around Australia but their impact went to a new high in Adelaide on Saturday when they rode eight of the nine winners at Morphettville. Such was their dominance that the female riders filled four quinellas and a trifecta on the nine race program.

The Morphettville results are unlikely, dare I say nigh impossible, to ever be replicated in most other major racing countries.

Adelaide’s runaway premiership leader Jamie Kah was again the leader of the pack at Morphettville with three winners, Raquel Clark and Emily Finnigan chimed in with doubles and Emma Boyd also landed a winner.

The only other winner was ridden by a visiting Japanese apprentice!

Many of the girls now riding in Australia have come from overseas to try their luck in our much fairer racing environment after being frustrated for opportunities in their home countries, especially England and Ireland.

They come looking for work as stablehands and track riders in the hope they can land an apprenticeship. Fortunately our industry can accommodate them.


Racing and Sports

Chris Scholtz

Managing Director Tronta Media P/L; Contributing Editor Racing & Sports Chris is an award winning racing media professional working in the print, radio and online mediums since 1971 and managing director of his own racing industry media company since 1988. He has covered all of Australia’s major racing carnivals, numerous international events and is widely recognised as a leading form assessor and race analyst. Chris brings his passion for racing to racingandsports.com.au as its contributing editor since its launch in 2000.