There will be plenty of glitz and glamour alongside the serious business on the track at Carlisle Racecourse’s annual Ladies Night – the UK’s only all-female jockey race meeting.
Monday’s seven-race card combines a celebration of the increasing profile of female jockeys alongside guests dressed in their finery for an evening of fun, closing with a DJ set from fashion guru Gok Wan.
On the track there promises to be fierce competition with established riders battling with some up and coming names.
One jockey who will arrive riding on a high is Megan Nicholls. The apprentice rode Mannaal to a Goodwood win on Wednesday for Simon Crisford in the Class 2 EBF Premier Fillies’ Handicap, her biggest victory to date.
Nicholls, who has also won back-to-back Silk Series trophies for female jockeys, said: “It’s been a whirlwind few days. We all dream for winners at these big meetings and it was amazing, I am still on cloud nine.
“Carlisle’s Ladies Night is always a packed evening and a fun time. The event opens up more opportunities for us, so long may it continue. I’ve had winners at Carlisle, some near misses and the horses run pretty good so I’ll be hoping for a good evening.”
Nicholls has a full card with rides for Brian Ellison, Richard Fahey, Michael Dods and Robyn Brisland. Fahey’s Requinto Dawn in the second and Ellison’s Pickett’s Charge in an 8f handicap will both be fancied after runner up performances last time out.
Paula Muir also has good reason to fancy her chances after previous success at this meeting. Last year Muir took 28-1 shot Bogardus to the finishing post in the evening’s last race.
She said: “Having the all-female jockeys meeting opens people’s eyes that women can do this job as well. It’s a brilliant event and great for raising our profile and making new connections.
“We always get looked after so well and I really like Carlisle as a track. I don’t know what it is, but the uphill climb seems to work for me and the horses always seem to perform.”
Muir, who has six rides declared, partners Dods’ Gale Force Maya in the Class 4 Megasun Lounge Handicap. The three-year-old opened her season with a win at Pontefract and at Carlisle last time took the British Stallion Studs EBF Fillies’ Handicap by almost two lengths from a challenging Mina Velour.
Rhona Pindar has two wins from three at the Durdar course this season. She has two more rides and in Wilf Storey’s Tarnhelm, in the evening’s second race over six furlongs, she has a horse who has been in terrific form. The four-year-old followed two victories at Carlisle with success at Ayr last month.
Rachel Richardson, who landed a memorable double at this meeting last year, is another riding through the card. In the opener over five furlongs she has Tim Easterby’s Suitcase ‘n’ Taxi, placed behind Tarnhelm at Carlisle last month.
Cumbrian trainer Dianne Sayer and jockey daughter Emma team up with four runners. The Navigator in the pro-am over 1m 1f is a track regular with two runners up spots this season while Redarna in the On Your Marks Handicap topped two wins here with success at Ascot in the Longines Handicap.
Molly Dingwall, Carlisle Racecourse General Manager, said: “We are proud to continue championing our wonderful female jockeys and are delighted this event is now firmly established and well supported right across the racing community.
“Alongside that we can guarantee guests a fantastic night off the track as well and encourage everyone coming along to join in the party atmosphere.”
Tickets for Monday’s racing are £24 for adults if booked in advance. Under-18s gain free entry when accompanied by an adult.
Gates open at 2.45pm, first race is at 5.45pm, last race at 8.45pm with Gok Wan’s DJ set starting at 9pm.