By Jordan Gerrans
Monto Race Club will create their own slice of history this weekend with an all-female contingent of jockeys set to ride at their meeting.
As of Friday morning, eight ladies are accepted to ride across the five-event Non-TAB program from Monto, which is based between Bundaberg and Gladstone.
With ten horses set to contest the Benchmark 55 Handicap (1400m) to open the program, there is a chance a male hoop will be engaged to ride the two horses who have accepted without jockeys.
Secretary of the Club, Kerri Williams, is glad Monto can showcase some of the leading female riders in the bush.
“This is history making,” Williams said.
“We did not even realise that it was happening until I got all the acceptances out before lunchtime on Thursday.
“We got ready to print the race book and went 'wow, eight jockeys – all females, that is fantastic'.
“The girls are just getting stronger and stronger in the riding ranks; the female jockeys are going great.”
In their own little way, Monto has created history of late, with their 2020 meeting one of their strongest on record, showcasing the highest number of horses accepted in recent memory.
At the Monto track, there are no permanent trainers and jockeys based there, with everyone travelling to the town for Saturday’s race day.
They previously raced as many as nine times a year, but host just the one race day a year these days.
Brisbane-based apprentice Isabella Teh is one of the eight female jockeys travelling to Monto this weekend.
Teh is completing her apprenticeship with trainer Dan Bougoure and says she has noticed the growing trend of more lady riders in the bush over the last few months.
“It is great,” Teh said.
“Lately, we have been outnumbering the boys at the country race meetings, sometimes before this there is only one or two boys.
“At Bundaberg recently there was only one fella and there have been a few other times like this.”
Of the eight female riders set for Monto this Saturday, four are apprentices, with Teh noting that the non-TAB circuit is a perfect place for up-and-coming hoops to hone their skills before trying to crack into the Brisbane riding ranks.
Many of the jockeys will carpool together from the south-east of the state to Monto on Saturday.
Teh is on the comeback trail after a recent fall that put her on the sidelines.
She rode a winner at Bundaberg recently after a few months recovering from her fall in November of last year.
Ladies’ dominance is not unusual in the country areas of Queensland, with a race meeting at Innisfail around a year ago having all five races won by female trainers.
It's also not the first time that women have accounted for every engagement on a card, after a Non-TAB meeting at Clermont in October 2020 featured seven different female riders.
The emergence of female jockeys in Queensland was further emphasised last year at a meeting in Kilcoy, where there were twice as many women as their male counterparts riding.
It is believed to be the first time women riders have outnumbered men at a major Queensland TAB meeting.