Wondai Jockey Monica Ryan had a raced name after her at the Wondai Races.
Wondai Jockey Monica Ryan had a raced name after her at the Wondai Races. Madeline Grace

More female jockeys are needed

WONDAI born and bred jockey Monica Ryan doesn't understand why there aren't more female jockeys nationally or internationally.

"It just doesn't make sense to me," she said.

"We're naturally built to be lighter and a lot of the times we're better with horses.

"It's also just a lot of fun and a great industry to be in."

The Monica Ryan Trophy was set to be race two at the Wondai Races on Saturday, October 19.

The last Wondai Races meet of the year was abandoned after a ferocious thunderstorm hit the track.

Racegoers and punters alike were taken by surprise when the hail and rain hit about 2pm.

The Monica Ryan Trophy race was planned for 2.15pm.

This was the second year of the Monica Ryan Trophy race, named after the jockey who won four out of the seven races at a Wondai race meeting in 1990.

At the same race meeting, all races were won by female jockeys.

"It really was a bit of a rarity," Ryan said.

"It was the first time all of the seven races were won by girl jockeys at a country race meet.

"The first time internationally. It really was a big deal. It was a win for the girls."

Ryan was a jockey for more than 15 years.

"Back when we all won those races there would have been only about six female jockeys I knew of, even in Queensland," she said.

"Most of the jockeys were men.

"Actually most of the jockeys still are men."

Ryan said at any race meeting the jockey ratio is usually about 20 blokes to five girls.

"There still aren't too many women riding," she said.

"Especially not in the big races like the Melbourne Cup.

"But baby steps, you know."

Ryan was only an apprentice jockey when she won those four races.

"I remember that day pretty well," she said.

"I drove up from Brisbane and rode most of my usual horses that day.

"It was a pretty close-to-home victory and still means a lot to me."

The Wondai Racing Club thought the Monica Ryan Race and trophy would be special way to commemorate such an important day for women and jockeys.

"It really kick-started the great women-led racing industry we now have in the South Burnett," Ryan said.

South Burnett

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