How many female jockeys have won Royal Ascot races?
It’s often stated that the history of Royal Ascot dates back over 300 years but, in all that time, just three female jockeys have ridden a winner at the Royal meeting. Back in the days when, as she put it, ‘it was particularly snobby…and a woman riding at Royal Ascot was unheard of’, Gay Kelleway was the first to do so. In 1987, she took advantage of testing conditions by adopting catch-me-if-you-can tactics on confirmed mudlark Sprowston Boy, trained by her late father, Paul, to win the Queen Alexandra Stakes.
Remarkably, though, it was not until 2019 that Hayley Turner partnered the aptly-named Thanks Be to a narrow victory in the Sandringham Stakes to join Gay Kelleway on the Royal Ascot roll of honour. Lo and behold, the following year she won the same race again on Onassis, who was trained, like Thanks Be, by Charlie Fellowes. The following day, in the style of ‘London buses’, rising star Hollie Doyle partnered Scarlet Dragon, trained by Alan King, to victory in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes, thereby becoming the third female jockey in history to ride a Royal Ascot winner.