Arena Racing launches £100,000 ‘Silk Series’ for Women’s Sport Week

screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-20-01-10During Women’s Sport Week, Arena Racing Company (“ARC”) is delighted to announce the launch of an exciting new race series for female jockeys – The Silk Series.

This Silk Series is a new initiative designed to provide female jockeys, both professional and amateur, with the opportunity to participate in races hosted at nine Ladies’ Days at ARC racecourses in 2017.

The prize fund for nine races making up The Silk Series will be a minimum of £100,000. The leading female jockey at the end of The Silk Series will be awarded ‘The Tufnell Trophy’ in memory of Meriel Tufnell MBE who was Great Britain’s first Female Champion Jockey in 1972, a feat she matched in 1973 along with also becoming European Female Champion Jockey. In addition to her success on the racecourse she also founded the Lady Jockeys’ Association – the first such body in the world.

The first race will be hosted at Lingfield Park on Friday 12 May 2017 with the final race held on Ladies Day of the St Leger meeting on Thursday 14 September 2017.

As part of hosting The Silk Series ARC is excited to partner with Cancer Research UK to raise money for the charity’s pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. From the sale of each ticket sold for ARC’s 2017 Ladies Day series, 75 pence will be donated to the charity.  Cancer Research UK will have a presence at all nine Ladies’ Days fixtures with racegoers having the opportunity to engage with and support the charity.

The full list of race days is below:

Racecourse Date of Ladies’ Day/Evening in 2017
Lingfield Park Friday 12 May
Chepstow Friday 14 July
Great Yarmouth Wednesday 19 July
Newcastle Saturday 29 July
Brighton Thursday 10 August
Wolverhampton Friday 18 August
Bath Saturday 19 August
Royal Windsor Saturday 26 August
Doncaster Thursday 14 September


Races will be run over a variety of distances with horses aged three years and over eligible to take part.  The exact race conditions are still to be agreed with the British Horseracing Authority (“BHA”) as part of the 2017 race programme.

The Tufnell Trophy will be awarded to the jockey who wins the most points across the nine races. The presentation will take place on the afternoon of 14 September at Doncaster Racecourse.

ARC Group Director of Partnerships, David Leyden Dunbar said: “At ARC we pride ourselves on being creative and we are always seeking new ways to innovate and promote our sport. We believe the creation of The Silk Series will provide an excellent platform for the UK’s very best female jockeys to showcase their talents, while raising funds and awareness for Cancer Research UK.  I’m delighted that our partnership is beginning with a commitment to ensure a donation from every ticket sold to our Ladies Days goes directly to the charity.”

Executive Director of Philanthropy and Partnerships at Cancer Research UK, Frances Milner said: “We are delighted that ARC has chosen to support Cancer Research UK through The Silk Series. It is a brilliant opportunity to raise awareness of our work and the money raised will help fund vital research into beating cancer.”

Professional Jockeys Association, Executive Director (Racing) Dale Gibson said: “The PJA welcomes this new series of races for female jockeys and in particular we hope it will provide additional opportunities for young female apprentices to showcase their riding abilities.”

Amateur Jockeys Association of Great Britain (“AJA”) Chief Executive, Sarah Oliver said: “The AJA are most grateful to ARC for their initiative in launching this new Pro-Am Series which we know will be well supported by our members.  This is hugely exciting news for lady jockeys to be given more opportunities to showcase their skills.  In addition, on behalf of the AJA I would like to thank ARC for their generosity in supporting such an important charity.”

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