A new racing series has been introduced for female jockeys, due to start next year.
The races, entitled The Silk Series, are part of an initiative introduced by the Arena Racing Company (ARC). The initiative is hoping to give both professional and amateur female jockeys a chance to participate in races.
The series will comprise of nine races hosted at Ladies’ Days across ARC racecourses, with a minimum prize fund of £100,000. The overall winner will be awarded ‘The Tufnell Trophy’, created in memory of Meriel Tufnell MBE.
Tufnell was the first female jockey in the UK to win a race under Jockey Club Rules. She went on to become Great Britain’s first Female Champion Jockey and the European Female Champion Jockey. She also founded the Lady Jockeys’ Association, the first of its kind in the world.
The series will also raise money for Cancer Research UK, in honour of Tufnell who died of cancer at the age of 53.
David Leyden Dunbar, ARC group director of partnerships, said, “At ARC we pride ourselves on being creative and we are always seeking new ways to innovate and promote our sport.”
“We believe the creation of the Silk Series will provide an excellent platform for the UK’s very best female jockeys to showcase their talents, while raising funds and awareness for Cancer Research UK.”
“I’m delighted that our partnership is beginning with a commitment to ensure a donation from every ticket sold to our Ladies Days goes directly to the charity.”
Meriel’s brother, Wynne Tufnell said, “Meriel would be delighted to know that her name and memory is to be linked with The Silk Series.”
“She was a pioneer in everything she did and she would welcome the new opportunities this initiative provides for female jockeys.”
“As her family we look forward to presenting the winning female jockey with The Tufnell Trophy next September.”
The first race takes place at Lingfield Park on 12th May and the last race takes place in Doncaster on 14th September.