Major shake-up in jockey quarters reno
A MAJOR shake-up in the racing industry will become more obvious at home after the redevelopment of the Ipswich Turf Club.
It’s all about women.
The jockey quarters are being demolished as part of the $13million redevelopment.
While the works are ongoing, the jockeys will use demountable buildings already onsite near the former Pig Pen.
When the new facilities are unveiled, female jockeys will no longer be relegated to small rooms, with the project recognising the growing presence of women in racing.
The new jockey quarters will provide equal space for women and men in the new two-storey building at the western end of the track.
It’s a tangible sign that women are gaining parity with men in the industry.
Racing Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell said the trend was reflected across the industry.
“The majority of apprentice jockeys these days are female,” Mr Parnell said.
“In some clubs we have been swapping the men’s and women’s quarters to cater for that growth.”
Ipswich Turf Club general manager Brett Kitching said women were becoming more involved in racing and several had been named champions at the track.
Mr Kitching has been at the club for 14 years and said, in that time, four women had the club’s apprenticeship premiership.
“We had Tegan Harrison win the Ipswich Cup in 2014,” Mr Kitching said.
“Gai Waterhouse was the first female trainer at the Ipswich Cup in 1993 on Beachside and again in 2008 with Bianca.”
Mr Kitching agreed there were lots of female apprentice jockeys coming through but said the seniors was still dominated by men.
“It appears to me you have fewer females carrying on once they finish their apprenticeship,” he said.
“In the senior ranks we still have about 20 male riders compared to 10 females on an average race day at Ipswich.”
Mr Kitching said women were also swelling the ranks behind the scenes.
“We are noticing more women getting involved at our track,” he said.
“Twenty years ago there was only one female working in the office (out of six staff). Now we only have two males.”