In the last blog written by Hayley, she alluded to the “weighty issue” of lady jockeys being given a weight allowance when riding against the guys. As she said, “AP (McCoy) opened a can of worms when he suggested the very same thing some time ago, with many of the lady riders themselves feeling that the move was not necessary because the girls should prove themselves on ‘level terms’ and that sex should not be bought in to the equation.
However, there are a couple of major issues here that should be considered first and foremost and I imagine the French racing authorities did just that when they decided to allow lady riders a weight allowance of four pounds in the hope it would encourage more owners and trainers to employ them.
Racings professionals have 'never said' fillies are lesser animals than colts because, or despite them being given a weight allowance, and it has long since been recognised that they should be given a weight allowance against the boys to compensate for the legitimate and natural differences between the two sexes.
Science confirms that Men (and colts) have more testosterone making them more muscular, stronger and generally more aggressive. Women (and fillies) have less testosterone. This is just a fact of life and it is entirely right and appropriate (and totally acceptable) for fillies to be given the five pounds weight allowance. So why not apply the same rule to lady riders who, like the fillies naturally have less testosterone in their genetic makeup?
"Fashion, habit and history" are the main reasons racing finds it so difficult to move with the times and give the girls the chances they deserve. The stumbling block to lady riders is opportunity, but a four pounds allowance for lady riders will undoubtedly kick start the break in habit and tradition so badly needed for any changes to take place.
Incidentally, I don’t mind admitting that as a trainer (and worse of all, a female trainer) that I rarely use a lady rider but, allow them to have an extra four pounds and I am convinced that I, along with many other trainers and owners will soon be changing the habits of a lifetime.