Lizzie Kelly annoyed by 'female jockey' label

Jockey Lizzie Kelly
Cheltenham Festival
Dates: 13-16 March Venue: Cheltenham Racecourse Coverage: Full coverage on BBC Radio 5 live; live text updates on BBC Sport website
Schedule: All the races

Lizzie Kelly, the first woman to win a Grade One jumps race in Britain, says she is frustrated by the distinction made between male and female jockeys.

Kelly’s success at the top level has been followed by Bryony Frost and they will be among women competing against men at next week’s Cheltenham Festival.

“In a race, you don’t really know the person next to you,” 24-year-old Kelly said.

“If I was riding beside someone, they’d have to really look to see if I was a girl or a boy.”

Kelly has achieved two Grade One wins on Tea For Two, while Frost scored her first success at that level with Black Corton at Kempton in December 2017.

In January, it was announced a new study had found female jockeys are as good as men, although only 11.3% of professional jockey licences are currently held by women.

Kelly says female riders are treated with respect by their male colleagues, but questions the use of gender in some media coverage of the sport’s top competitors.

She told BBC Radio 5 live: “We are all doing the same thing. You have the same problems, the same issues.

“It’s only the people in the media that want to make a story out of it.

“You get this title of a female jockey. It’s very annoying because if the jockeys in the weighing room respect you, it seems almost odd it’s the people outside the weighing room that are making you different.”

The four-day Cheltenham Festival starts on 13 March.

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