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Arran jockey Nicola Currie made history at Ascot on Saturday.
The 24-year-old become the first female to ride in Europe’s richest mile race, The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, at the Qipco British Champions Day.
She rode Raising Sand a 66-1 outsider but still managed a very respectable 9th place in the 16 strong field of the group one race, which had prize money of £1.1 million up for grabs.
Ahead of the race, Nicola who was born and brought up on Arran, told The Scotsman: ‘It’s very exciting. I actually wasn’t aware until this morning that I would be the first female to ride in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
‘It’s great to achieve a goal that other people haven’t done. To be the first female to ride in this race is quite a big thing.’
It does seem surprising that in the year 2019 such an anomaly existed but Nicola does not believe it is a result of lingering male dominance in racing.
‘I honestly don’t think we do get treated differently. It’s still probably slightly tougher as a female coming in because you have more to prove. But once you’ve proved yourself to trainers and fellow male jockeys that you are mentally and physically as tough, then we’re all on a level playing field,’ she added.
‘I know there is a lot of talk about changing things for us women in the weighing room but I wouldn’t be one to scream out for that because I think the industry we’ve come into is adapting.
‘We can’t argue the fact that we’re not getting rides, because we are.
‘You have to expect it to be a little tougher at first but, at the end of the day, if you expect to be treated the same on the track then you have to expect to be treated the same in the weighing room.’
Nicola, who is now based in Lambourn, added: ‘I want to have a long and successful career.
‘I don’t want to ride just to make a living, I want to achieve things as a female jockey that haven’t been done yet.
‘I want to keep getting better and keep riding in better quality races and for better trainers.’
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