Bets on races also evolved along with the races themselves. Originally, bets were placed simply on which horse would win. Today, bets are complicated permutations and combinations of which horse will win, which horse will place (come in first, second or third) and even which horse will lose.
The Role of the Jockeys
There are many who say that jockeys are not really important to a horse race. However, that is not true. A good jockey can help win or lose a race. While a jockey cannot do much with a poor horse, he can push a good horse to a win.
A jockey does this by knowing about the horse’s strengths as well as weaknesses. This is critical in a race, since each horse is different and has its own personality. There are some horses that love to lead the race throughout – they are called speed horses. And then there are those that prefer hanging back and then bursting through in the last part of the race. There are also horses that want to stay close to other horses and ride along the left rail, while others that prefer space and ride on the more open right rail.
Whatever be the case, the jockey is the one that needs to understand this carry out a strategy to win accordingly.
Another thing that a good jockey does is research the competition and the track on which the race is to take place. They also need to be light enough for the horse to not be held back by their weight, but they also need to be strong enough to guide the horse when needed – it is a unique combination.
The most important thing a jockey brings to the table is his or her ability to connect with the horse and keep it calm in such a tense situation.
Women Jockeys in Horse Racing
Despite the fact that horse racing is a centuries-old sport, women jockeys only began to ride less than a century ago. The first woman to receive an official jockey license was Anna Lee Aldred, which was in 1939 in the US.
The history of the first women jockeys being given the right to hold licenses in Australia is even shorter, with the pioneers Pam O’Neill and Linda Jones leading the fight for legalization, which finally took place in 1979.
Interestingly enough, Australia’s first female jockey actually rode the circuits way before them, in the 1940s and 50s. However, she did so by dressing as a man and taking the name Bill Smith. Her real name was Wilhelmina Smith and she was born in 1886. She was an orphan and dressed as a man from the age of 16 so that she could find work to support herself.
It wasn’t until 1987 that the first woman jockey was allowed to race in the country’s most prestigious horse race – The Melbourne Cup. Her name was Maree Lyndon and she rode the horse Argonaut Style. Sadly, she placed second last in the race.
It took another 28 years for a woman jockey to win the Melbourne Cup, and in 2015 Michelle Payne became the first woman to ever win the prestigious cup. She was also only the 5th woman to ever race in this event.
The Melbourne Cup 2019
Many countries across the world have developed their own races, and in Australia, the most prestigious is the Melbourne Cup. It is a racing event that is held annually in which thoroughbred horse compete to win the ultimate championship in the country.
The total prize money in this race is a massive AUD$8,000,000. The trophies themselves are valued at over $250,000! Considering that these are the stakes, it is no wonder that betting also is frenzied during this event.
More than 1 million people in Australia alone bet on the Melbourne Cup every year. However, now, with rapid advancements in technology, where people can bet on races using their smartphones, that number is expected to grow exponentially in the Melbourne Cup 2019 that is due to be held later this year.
Will There Be Another Woman Jockey in the Melbourne Cup 2019?
Despite the fact that today, women make up about 30% of the jockey population in Australia, they still continue to struggle against male dominance in the field. And with the list of riders and jockeys for the Melbourne Cup 2019 not yet announced, it remains to be seen whether there will be another woman who will ride in the race.