This year Victoria Racing Club Ambassador Georgia Connolly will become the first Australian woman to compete in the Magnolia Cup, held on Ladies' Day during the Qatar Goodwood Festival on August 1.
Georgia will turn amateur jockey for the race, where she will compete against high-profile women from the worlds of business, sport, fashion and the media including Olympic gold medallist Victoria Pendleton, British model Rosie Tapner and Irish television personality Vogue Williams.
Each jockey has been issued with a tough training programme to get them race-fit and must pass a rigorous fitness test before competing.
Most of them have ridden as a hobby, but will face an entirely new challenge racing as a jockey and reaching speeds of up to 45km/h.
An experienced eventer, Georgia has two horses in work at her property on the Mornington Peninsula and will team up with some of Australia’s best jockeys and trainers to get race ready.
The VRC and World Horse Racing will follow Georgia’s journey as she prepares for the ride of a lifetime.
Episode 1: The journey to the Magnolia Cup
Over the next three months VRC Ambassador Georgia Connolly will be put through her paces as she prepares to become an amateur jockey for the Magnolia Cup, an annual charity race held at Glorious Goodwood in the United Kingdom.
Episode 2: Georgia's first day of trackwork
Georgia teams up with the team at Jason Warren Racing on the Mornington Peninsula to get a taste of race riding.
Episode 3: A visit to the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott stable
In a bid to get race-ready, fellow VRC Ambassador and Hall of Fame trainer Gai Waterhouse Racing invites Georgia to Sydney for a morning of trackwork.
Episode 4: Fitness test preparation
Olympic Eventer, personal trainer and Georgia’s first riding coach Amanda Ross takes Georgia under her wing to prepare her for the Magnolia Cup fitness test.
Episode 5: Apprentice Jockey School training
Georgia visits Racing Victoria’s Apprentice Jockey School and spends the day with second year apprentices and coach Darren Gauchi to learn how to conquer the Goodwood straight.
Episode 6: The final hurdle
After weeks of training it's time for Georgia to undertake the amateur jockey fitness test which she must pass in order to be eligible to ride in the Magnolia Cup at glorious Goodwood.
Episode 7: Trackwork for the Cumani Racing team
With only weeks to go until the Magnolia Cup at Goodwood, Georgia travels to Ballarat to ride trackwork for the Cumani Racing team and to get some sage words of advice on how to tackle the Goodwood straight from Englishman Matt Cumani.
Episode 8: Georgia heads to the UK
As she packs for her trip abroad, Georgia reflects on her challenging yet rewarding journey to the Magnolia Cup.
The Magnolia Cup is a 1.1km flat sprint, with the amateur female jockeys in bespoke jockey silks designed by Greek fashion designer Mary Katrantzou, competing for victory in front of 25,000 cheering spectators.
Now in its ninth year, the race has raised over $2.5 million in charitable funds and this year will support Wellbeing of Women, Britain’s leading women’s reproductive and gynaecological health charity.
The race is named after the flowers that adorn the front of the historic Goodwood House, located in West Sussex, England. It is the seat of the Duke of Richmond and the estate is home to Goodwood Racecourse.
The Magnolia Cup was created by The Duke of Richmond and the core Goodwood team in 2010.
This year’s inspiring riders will be:
In previous years, competitors have included top model Edie Campbell, Channel Ten racing expert Francesca Cumani, BBC DJ Sara Cox and Baroness Dido Harding.
VRC Ambassador Georgia Connolly will saddle up in the annual women-only Magnolia Cup at Goodwood, the first Australian to take up the reins in the race at the world-famous British racecourse.
This year the Magnolia Cup will benefit Wellbeing of Women, Britain’s leading women’s reproductive and gynaecological health charity dedicated to saving the lives of women and children across the United Kingdom.
A keen racegoer from an early age, Georgia Connolly has been riding since she was three-years-old and worked closely with the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) during the 2015 Melbourne Cup Carnival as Myer Fashions on the Field Ambassador.
In 2016 she was appointed the inaugural Victoria Racing Club Ambassador, a role which she will continue in this year.
Georgia’s love of racing, horses and fashion ensures she is perfectly placed to represent Flemington throughout the racing calendar and at various VRC events off track including the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour.
An experienced eventer, Georgia is a promising dressage competitor and currently has two horses in work at her property on the Mornington Peninsula.
One of Georgia’s horses Instance, or Milly as she is affectionately known, is a broodmare and is part of the racing industry’s Off the Track Program which aims to rehome retired thoroughbred racehorses. Milly has produced two beautiful foals, one bred for performance disciplines and the other, by Group 1 winning stallion Puissance de Lune, for racing.
Georgia, 29, is a longstanding VRC Member and with her family owns shares in a number of racehorses including Melbourne Cup runner Maythehorsebewithu, which ran fifth in 2001, and Boss Rock, a promising young gelding by 150th Melbourne Cup-winning champion Americain.
Once described by King Edward VII as ‘a garden party with racing tacked on,’ this world-famous five-day festival – affectionately known as ‘Glorious Goodwood’ – is one of the highlights of the UK flat racing season. Over 100,000 people flock to the world’s most beautiful racecourse to enjoy top class racing and entertainment, including the £1million Qatar Sussex Stakes, the cavalry charge that is the Qatar Steward’s Cup and the marathon Qatar Goodwood Cup. The 2019 event takes place from Tuesday 30 July to Saturday 3 August and Qatar continues its generous support of the week, with prize money totalling over £5.5 million.
Tickets and hospitality packages for all of Goodwood’s 2019 fixtures can be purchased at Goodwood.com.
Wellbeing of Women is the UK’s leading women’s reproductive and gynaecological health charity which for over 55 years has been dedicated to saving and changing lives through research. Their pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment across the breadth of female reproductive and gynaecological health, including pregnancy, childbirth, gynaecological cancers, endometriosis and the menopause has helped save thousands of lives and ensure a better start for many babies. Many of the routine tests and treatments that form everyday clinical practice can be traced back to their work, such as the use of ultrasound in pregnancy and the importance of taking folic acid for the health of the unborn baby. Wellbeing of Women also funded Professor Henry Kitchener, who linked HPV to cervical cancer which led to the HPV vaccination program in schools, making cervical cancer preventable for the first time. Only 2.48% of publicly funded research in the UK is dedicated to reproductive health and childbirth which makes their work vital.
Please visit WellbeingOfWomen/donate.co.uk to donate to Georgia’s Magnolia Cup campaign, which benefits Wellbeing of Women.