Liz Jefferies

Five women dominating the racing industry

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we take a look at five women that are dominating the racing industry.

Think thoroughbred horseracing is a man’s world? Think again.

Racing in the modern era is changing, with more and more women involved across the industry in every sector and at every level.

When you think of women in racing, your mind most likely turns to three of the most famous: Emirates Melbourne Cup winning trainer Gai Waterhouse, Emirates Melbourne Cup winning jockey Michelle Payne and recently announced VRC Chairman, Amanda Elliott. All of these women have etched their names into the history books with their impressive careers.

But behind these very public female faces, racing is teeming with women connected by a love for horses and the sport that makes their job not just work, but a passion.

From stewards to saddlers, clerks of the course to farriers, here are just some of the women shattering stereotypes and making their mark in the Australian racing industry today.

Photographer Martin Reddy’s stunning portraits capture the dedication of these inspiring women at work as they prepare for Australia’s premier thoroughbred racing event – the 2016 Melbourne Cup Carnival.

1. Sophie Clarke – Sadler.

As a woman in racing, Sophie has always felt like an equal, believing that being a woman actually probably works in her favour, people assuming that her job must require the feminine touch.

Sophie Clarke

2. Emma Wood, Equine Veterinarin

“Excited by the growing number of women in racing, Emma feels it is inevitable that more females fill roles. “There are more women in the industry than ever before, and I think the future’s going that way. We play a really varied role and are passionate about what we do, as well as being great with horses. A lot of track-riders these days are women, it is fast becoming a really female-dominated role.”

Emma Wood

3. Natashia Radford, Raceday Judge

As the first female raceday judge in Victoria, Natashia’s job is a dream come true. It is a job with much responsibility and requires a calm demeanour but for Natashia, who lives and breathes horses, it is a passion that has turned into a career.

Natasha Radford

4. Natasha May-Keas, Farrier

Although one of only seven women qualified as farriers in the State of Victoria, up from two when she started out in the industry 14 years ago, Natasha believes that racing is not as chauvinistic as it used to be.

“Women are more accepted as farriers now and are starting to get recognised for our achievements. People can see that we can do our jobs just as well as men.”

Natasha May-Keas

5. Lizzie Jelfs – Stables Manager at Lindsay Park & Broadcaster

“I’ve just been chosen because I was the right person for the job. Women can have roles in racing and it can be very fruitful and have longevity, even if you decide to have a family and return to the industry. With Michelle Payne’s win and more and more females involved, it is a great moment for the sport. Any promotion of women in racing can only make it better.”

Liz Jefferies