RIDING GREAT: Former jockey Julie York has praised Michelle Payne's efforts and foresees big developments in female racing.
RIDING GREAT: Former jockey Julie York has praised Michelle Payne's efforts and foresees big developments in female racing. Claudia Jambor

The game changers of racing

FORMER jockey Julie York's heart skipped a beat when she saw Michelle Payne and Prince of Penzance gallop to victory at the Melbourne Cup.

York was the first female jockey to be officially licensed in NSW after racing organisations Australia abolished laws nationwide that prohibited women from racing against men and at professional meets.

Payne's famous "get stuffed" comment to a male-dominated jockey industry gave York goosebumps.

After 61 years in the industry, she foresees a bright future for female jockeys in racing.

"When she (Michelle) acknowledged women jockeys and of course I felt a part of it because I was the first one (in NSW) ... For me, it was just elation to just see women get to that height," she said.

"I got as much joy from the day they said, 'Julie you're a jockey' as Michelle got from going past the post winning the Melbourne Cup, that's how much being a jockey meant to me."

In 1976, York advocated for change after she represented Australia competing in an international women's racing event in Brazil where most of the other riders were licensed.

Three years later, the rules were amended to allow women to gain their professional licence and compete against men.


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