When it comes to horse racing, women are more known for their form in the fashion stakes than they are on the track.
But with an increasing number of female apprentice jockeys coming up through the ranks their presence on the track is certainly being felt.
Codie McPherson and Tiffany Jeffries are two apprentice jockeys in demand by owners and trainers in New South Wales racing.
They featured in a number of races at yesterday’s Dubbo Turf Club TAB meeting yesterday.
Tiffany from Parkes is just 21 and Codie comes from Tamworth and is 18 years old.
The girls have a lot to learn but believe they have what it takes to become dominant in the sport.
Like most of the racing fraternity, being involved with horses is something these girls have grown up with.
“I’ve ridden horses all my life and mum just had a thought one day and asked me if I wanted to be a jockey and I thought ‘why not’ I’m small enough,” Codie said.
After finishing Year 10 the Cessnock teenager moved to Sydney where she was indentured with former champion jockey-turned-trainer Kevin Moses and is currently with Kevin Dixon at Tamworth but still keeps in close contact with Moses.
“He (Moses) gave me the best start and it has just been full on since then. It hasn’t stopped and I love it,” Codie said.
With mum Sharon a trainer and father Dale an ex-jockey, Tiffany Jeffries was certainly born into the industry but up until a few years ago, the Parkes-based apprentice jockey she had other dreams.
“I wanted to be a school teacher or in the police force so I have certainly taken a different career path,” she said.
“When I started riding track work Dad said I had a really nice seat and all our other apprentices were earning good money so I thought I’d give it a go. I’m light. I don’t have to waste. I can eat whatever I want and just rock up to the races and ride, so it is easy.”
In an industry that is predominately dominated by males these girls remain aware of the challenge they have set for themselves. They both admit it does take a lot of hard work to make it in an industry that is predominantly male.
“I guess I’ve had it easier than most because of my background,” Jeffries said.
“But I find now that I am lowering the kilos, and getting into a better class of riding, the old timers especially out here, prefer a boy.
“They think boys are stronger when really it is about technique.”
Despite any set backs they might endure on the way these girls have their hearts set on making big names for themselves.
“I’d love to win the Melbourne Cup one day and also ride overseas. It would be good too see more women riding overseas,” Codie said.
“I want to be leading apprentice in our area and out ride my country claim,” Tiffany said.
“I’m already ridden 31 winners and am now down to a two kilos claim and I’ve been riding for a year so I haven’t got too long to go.
“I’d also like to go to Sydney and be an apprentice in Sydney. I’m looking to end up in a successful stable if not Sydney, I’ll try Queensland.”
Tiffany’s blood lines go further than her mother and father, her grandfather is Kevin Langby, arguably one of the best jockeys in Australia during his time.