Queen of the track

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Sub-heading: Nicola is named best female rider and turns professional

By Hugh Boag

Jockey Nicola Currie can look forward to sparkling 2019 after enjoying a Christmas to remember back home on Arran.

The 25-year-old rounded off a splendid year on another high when she was crowned Great British Racing Lady Jockey of the Year at the Stobart Lesters awards in London.

That came just days after she qualified as a professional jockey after riding her 100th winner – two years to the day since she rode her first winner.

Then it was back home to see her family on Arran for a few days at Christmas, but had to leave on Boxing Day and was back in the saddle at Wolverhampton on December 27.

The Banner caught up with Nicola when she was home and was still on cloud nine. She said: ‘I certainly never expected to be named female jockey of the year this early in my career and for the award to be voted for by my fellow jockeys just makes it even more special.

‘I can’t thank everyone enough who voted for me and supported me throughout the year. I am over the moon to win this award.’

Nicola’s award was among the nine that were presented at the prestigious annual event which this year was staged at the Park Plaza at Westminster Bridge and which Nicola described as ‘amazing’.

Nicola lifted the award  by being the most successful female jockey this year with 45 wins during the Flat championship and having riden out her claim has turned professional and is now a freelance rider.

She also finished 2nd in the Apprentice Jockey of the Year category to Jason Watson which she said was disappointing but added: ‘You can’t have it all.’

Nicola was born and brought up on Arran attending Shiskine Primary and Arran High School. She has always had a love of horses and at 16 she followed her dream by going to Outridge College in Edinburgh study horse management.

Nicola is based in Lambourn, Berkshire which, next to Newmarket, is the hub of UK racing. But it has not all been plain sailing. After a year on the circuit she almost quit racing in 2015 before being taking under the wing of Richard Hughes, the three-time champion jockey-turned-trainer, to whose stable she was apprenticed and who gave her her first win on the aptly named Believe It – two years later she is the best female jockey in the country.

In an article in Thoroughbred Daily News last week writer Tom Peacock said Nicola had the ability to stand out from the crowd.

He wrote: ‘Open and friendly with a soft Scottish accent, she is a rare sporting success story from the Isle of Arran. Her exploits have prompted the locals to switch the racing on in her local pub, and a small fan club has evolved. She is also very much part of the small wave of female rising stars, being awarded Lady Jockey of the Year at the recent Stobart Lesters, and can take encouragement from the strides that the likes of Josephine Gordon and Hollie Doyle have made. Much like her close friend Gordon, she does not exactly wear her brand of feminism overtly, but it is certainly visible.’

 

Nicola Currie with the other trophy winners at the Stobart Lesters award ceremony in London. 01_B01jockey01

Nicola Currie NO_B01jockey02