Women in Racing back on track

Canberra Racing Club 16 July 2020
Women in Racing

Women in Racing with 2019 Bursary Award winner Steph McIlrick. Photos: Supplied.

2020 was meant to be a big year for Women in Racing Canberra.

They were preparing to celebrate their 20th anniversary for a start, but instead of celebrations, it’s been a long four months devoid of racing.

The local racing-lovers, like all fans, have been unable to attend Thoroughbred Park since the Canberra Carnival in early March. As with all racing and sporting venues, Thoroughbred Park has been a crowd-free venue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But with easing restrictions, owners, members and sponsors alike will be welcomed back to the home of the Canberra Racing Club from 24 July.

Women in Racing President Sue King could not be happier.

“We are very excited. We aim to run an event every four-to-six weeks but, of course, we haven’t been able to do so recently,” Mrs King said.

Sue King

Women in Racing President Sue King.

Women in Racing usually holds many social events during the year for their 150 members, including a number of race day functions celebrating the Horse’s Birthday and the Wine, Women and Winning Post Event. Educational visits to stables and stud farms give members a comprehensive experience of all aspects of the racing industry.

“Our mission is to introduce more women to the vibrant and exciting world of thoroughbred racing.” Mrs King said.

“Racing is a wonderfully exciting world to be a part of. It is a wonderful community. I have met so many fabulous people and I am forever learning,” Mrs King said of her experiences in the racing industry.

Handle The Truth

Handle The Truth winning the 2019 Kosciuszko. Photo: Supplied.

Mrs King is a prominent identity in the Canberra racing community. She’s a Life Member of the Canberra Racing Club and part-owner of Canberra’s 2019 Kosciuszko winner Handle The Truth. The Kosciuszko is the world’s richest race for country-trained horses, worth $1.3 million. The win was Canberra’s first in the race and has set lofty standards for horses trained in the Capital in coming years.

When asked how many horses she part-owns, Mrs King replied with a chuckle: “Only nine.”

Of those nine horses, Mrs King cited Giocoso, which she part-owns with a syndicate made up of 19 other Women in Racing members, as one of her favourites. Each member only owns a small percentage of the horse but she says the thrill is compounded when sharing the experience with friends.

Women in Racing has successfully cultivated a fun and dynamic offering for their members over the past 20 years and aims to further their impact on the local racing industry in the future. Their contribution to the local industry is far-reaching, exemplified by the annual Women in Racing Bursary Award which sees a local female participant granted $1,000 to further their studies or qualifications in the equine field.

The 2019 Women in Racing Bursary Award was granted to Stephanie McIlrick, who has since enrolled in an online equine business course. In 2018 the recipient was Sophie Rolfe, who is now studying at Charles Sturt University to become a vet.

Contrary to their name, membership into Women in Racing Canberra is not exclusive to women. President Sue King invites anybody who shares their vision, values and passion for racing to reach out.

If you are interested in joining the wonderful community that is Women in Racing Canberra, email womeninracing@gmail.com. Membership is $40 per year.


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