4Racing celebrates the powerful women breaking down the horseracing barriers with Women’s Day race day at Turffontein
Press release 06 August
4Racing, in partnership with the Racehorse Owners Association, will celebrate women’s excellence in the sport of horseracing with a special Women’s Day race day at Turffontein this Tuesday 9 August 2022.
Entry is free from 11am and the guest of honour will be South Africa’s only current female professional jockey Rachel Venniker - who has just been crowned the country’s champion apprentice jockey after her impressive 70 winners from 560 rides - and who will have three rides on the day.
4Racing will pay tribute to Venniker at the Turffontein race day, at which all races will honour some of the leading historic female figures in South African horseracing with the main race being the Anne Upton Memorial Handicap, named in honour of the legendary female trainer and former Summer Cup winner who passed away in June this year.
Venniker’s fine racing season and growing popularity is a major drawcard for the sport, while the recent Hollywoodbets Durban July win by respected owner and breeder Mary Slack with filly Sparkling Water was also a major female fillip for the sport.
Slack’s trailblazing mother Bridget Oppenheimer - who was a six-time July winning owner affectionately known as the “Queen Mum” of South African horseracing and who was the first female member at Turffontein - will also be acknowledged on the Women’s Day race day with Race 2 named the Bridget Oppenheimer Maiden Qualified Plate.
Races named after other leading female figures in the sport include South Africa’s first female jockey Genevieve Michel, the first trainer Hilda Knaupp and legendary Nelson Mandela Bay breeder Rose Parker. Other prominent female trainers also honoured are Jean Heming and female steward Joan Ruffel.
“4Racing has always maintained that diversity and inclusivity is key to the growth of South African horseracing and we are proud of the many female leaders in the industry who have broken barriers to play prominent and leadership roles in the industry. We are excited to pay tribute to them with the Women’s Day race day and delighted to have Rachel Venniker as our guest of honour on the day, and to acknowledge the pioneering roles played by icons like Bridget Oppenheimer and Anne Upton. We encourage all racegoers to join us on this special day,” said 4Racing CEO Fundi Sithebe, who last year became the first female CEO of a South African horseracing operator.
Some of the other female industry figures who will participate in the day are Highveld-based trainers Ashley Fortune and Robyn Klaasen as well as new entrants in the horseracing sector, such as new racehorse owner Jessica Motaung, Marketing and Commercial Director for Kaizer Chiefs.
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