A WOMAN jockey has claimed she was kicked off a ride in favour of a male rival and told: "Sorry, the owners don't like girls."
Jane Elliott claimed she was jocked off the promising runner once it had a chance to win.
Elliott, who now races in America, said she rode the horse three times to get a nice handicap mark.
Once it did, trainer Tom Dascombe – who was Michael Owen's go-to trainer until a messy split – informed her she would no longer be on it.
When she asked why, Elliott claimed in the Racing Post that Dascombe told her: "Sorry, the owners don't like girls."
She claimed: "As soon as they thought the horse could win, they didn't want me on it – I only managed to ride the horses because of Tom.
"When they were in a race that they thought was winnable, I definitely wasn't on them.
"There were also a handful of trainers my agent said wouldn't want to use a girl."
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Conditional rider Emma Smith-Chaston alleged a similar experience.
She claimed, like Elliott, she had once been told 'so and so won't use you because you're a girl'.
Top rider Jo Mason claimed there is still a 'stigma' attached to being a female rider in a sport where men and women compete on level terms.
But she has found a huge ally in the shape of legendary golfer Lee Westwood.
The Ryder Cup hero picked Mason to ride his Flat horse Eligible and the duo have won three times, including back-to-back wins at Southwell in the past month.
He told Sun Racing: "I've got absolutely no hesitation employing women jockeys.
"I reckon they're every bit as good as the men.
"We just need to change the perception some people have and give them more opportunities.
"Jo Mason is the obvious example. She's won three times on Eligible for me and she's won on another of my horses, Sam's Call. She's an absolutely brilliant jockey.
"The way she timed her winning run to perfection on Eligible at Southwell earlier this month was a performance anyone would have been proud of.
"She's got everything you want from a jockey – fantastic balance, great timing and not afraid to go for small gaps.
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"While she rides to instructions 99 per cent of the time she's prepared to adapt as she sees a race unfolding.
"She's not the only one. I've offered rides to other women, including amateur Serena Brotherton and I’ll happily use her again if the opportunity arises."
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