Black jockey’s victory boosts racing’s diversity drive as 46 minority stars apply for event

And they’re off! Black jockey’s victory boosts racing’s diversity drive as 46 aspiring stars from ethnic minority backgrounds apply to compete in next year’s event

  • Ashleigh Wicheard stormed to victory in the Magnolia Cup last week
  • Since the victory, 46 ethnic minority jockeys have applied to compete next year
  • Mother-of-one Ashleigh benefited from an initiative set up in 2019 by Goodwood’s owner, the Duke of Richmond, to recruit more non-white jockeys

When Ashleigh Wicheard stormed to victory in the Magnolia Cup last week it was a milestone in a three-year diversity drive by Goodwood.

As the first black female jockey to win at the historic course in Sussex, the 36-year-old says she hopes her success will now ‘set the ball rolling’ for future generations.

Her victory on Thursday is already seeing results, as 46 aspiring jockeys from black or mixed-race backgrounds have already applied to compete in next year’s race.

Mother-of-one Ashleigh benefited from an initiative set up in 2019 by Goodwood’s owner, the Duke of Richmond, to recruit more non-white jockeys.

MILESTONE: Ashleigh Wicheard celebrates on Dark Shot after her victory at Goodwood on Thursday

MILESTONE: Ashleigh Wicheard celebrates on Dark Shot after her victory at Goodwood on Thursday

Inspired by Khadijah Mellah, the first hijab-wearing jockey, the landowner encouraged more prospective equestrians from diverse and inner-city backgrounds to apply. Ashleigh was already working in the industry at the stables of trainer Neil Mulholland and said she leapt at the chance.

She told The Mail on Sunday: ‘They don’t have enough black people to choose from at the moment. That’s why I thought this is something I should do.’

Before winning the charity race on Dark Shot, she took the knee as part of the sporting world’s statement against racism. She said it was something she privately planned to do six months ago but only told the other jockeys an hour beforehand.

Ashleigh, from Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, added: ‘I told them there was no pressure to join me, but they unanimously agreed to out of solidarity.

‘I do feel there has been a lack of diversity in racing, especially involving black people.

‘I’ve never had an idol growing up who I could say, “Wow, I would love to be like them,” because there wasn’t anyone in the weighing room who looked like me. You can’t be what you can’t see.

‘Now people can see a black girl, with braids in a riding hat, and think, “Actually, I could do that.” ’

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