Saluting the women in memory of Iris
Grahame Timbrell BALLINA Jockey Club is appealing for trainers to support its inaugural Iris Nielsen Memorial on the opening day of the carnival next Sunday.
The race, sponsored by the world famous Coolmore Stud, is a Class 4 Handicap (1300m) for fillies and mares, with the club planning to develop it in future years as one of the main lead-ups to cup day.
The race recognises Iris Nielsen, one of the pioneer women riders in the late 1970s and the first female rider killed in a race fall in Australia. She won the 1987 Ballina and Lismore cups on the Kevin Nipperess-trained Silver Magnum, but a year later died in a fall at Lismore.
Her husband Gary is a committeeman on the Ballina Jockey Club and still breeds and trains horses.
Members of the family will be guests at the meeting. Some of Australia's leading female riders, including Kathy and Tracy O'Hara, will ride in the race and accept other rides at the meeting. A ballot will be conducted to decide riders in the Memorial and the club wants to ensure there are enough runners for all the invited jockeys to ride. The other feature race next Sunday is the $25,000 Broadwater Cup (1600m), a perfect lead-in to the Ballina Cup. Nominations will close on Tuesday.