At the end of the racing season there’s always a lot of attention on the top jockey and trainer, and we’ll also think back on which races and horses we’ve particularly enjoyed seeing. It’s easy to forget that there’s also a championship for those jockeys learning their trade.
Last weekend Lucy Alexander picked up the conditional jockeys’ trophy for the 2012/13 national hunt season, and in doing so became both the first Scot and the first woman to do so. She’ll be equally proud of both. The success follows on from last year, when she was named Lady Jump Jockey of the Year. Alexander hopes this title, earned against the young men of the sport, will help alter some of the negative perceptions of female riders that she still comes across from time to time.
She said, “It feels good to be the first female champion conditional jockey. I watch all the top National Hunt jockeys and try to learn from their riding. I hope that because I’m now the champion conditional jockey that people now perceive me as just a jockey rather than a female jockey. Even if there will always be some people who would rather use a male rather than a female jockey, hopefully this will help to get people to judge me for who I am. There are a few more girls who have turned professional over jumps as well as a lot of girls riding on the flat.”
Most of her 38 winners were family affairs, trained by her father Nick, at Britain’s most northerly stables. The two combined for 21 winners, and that contributed hugely to a best ever season for dad. Alexander has already ridden out her weight allowances, so she’s now competing on even terms with all the more experienced riders.
Those 38 winners put her into the top 20 in the jockeys’ table, and she would almost certainly have scored more if she had not been out injured for six weeks. She’ll be all out to make sure she does over the next 12 months, and I wouldn’t bet against her doing so.