The female jockeys who raced in the Iris Nielsen Memorial Handicap at the Ballina Jockey Club last year.
The female jockeys who raced in the Iris Nielsen Memorial Handicap at the Ballina Jockey Club last year.

Lady jockeys hall of fame

RACING: Racing NSW chief executive officer Peter V’landys believes Ballina Jockey Club could become an international icon on the back of its support of women in racing.

Already home to the Iris Nielsen Invitational, the BJC announced a national lady jockeys hall of fame on Monday to the delight of the racing kingpin.

“Ballina Jockey Club is doing an amazing job of promoting women in racing,” V’landys said.

“Initially by recognising Iris Nielsen with the memorial race day, and now with the hall of fame.

“They have gone a long way towards making the club an international icon and all credit to them.”

The lady jockeys hall of fame is a BJC initiative but V’landys has thrown the support of Racing NSW behind the club as it looks to establish the museum.

“The BJC have done this all off their own bat up to this point, but down the track we will definitely look to assist with funding,” he said.

Racing NSW kicked in $20,000 to raise the Iris Nielsen Invitational purse to $50,000 and make it one of the feature events on the country racing calendar in 2010.

BJC director Bob Jemison is thrilled to be part of the club at a time when the industry is beginning to recognise the importance of women in racing.

“Ballina is regarded as the spiritual home for lady jockeys in Australia,” Jemison said.

“We want to build on that so the rest of the world can see.

“In the future, way down the track, it is my dream that lady jockeys will be remembered by the number of Iris Nielsen Memorials they win.

“And hopefully, some of those who win a few Iris Nielsen Memorials will end up in our hall of fame.”

The hall of fame will be launched on Sunday with the induction of three lady jockeys when Ballina hosts a TAB meeting featuring the $50,000 Iris Neilsen Memorial Handicap.

The invited female jockeys will have their rides determined by ballot.

But the project is very much in its infancy.

Without a designated home the honour roll and memorabilia will remain in the clubhouse while club directors continue to seek funding with an eye towards a new building on course.



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