A field of nineteen is set to contest The Silk Series Final on Thursday 13 September at Doncaster Racecourse.
Currently top of The Silk Series leader-board on 80 points, reigning champion Megan Nicholls is in pole position to retain her crown, with a top three finish guaranteeing her victory. Hot on her heels, however, are Jane Elliott (72 points) and Rhian Ingram (64) who could both still claim the title with 20 points available to the winning jockey.
Worth over £150,000 in total, The Silk Series expanded in 2018 to include races from Musselburgh, Hamilton Park, York and Goodwood for the first time, giving jockeys more opportunities to secure rides and accrue points over the summer.
Nicholls rides the top-rated Eastern Impact, trained by Richard Fahey at Doncaster and is hopeful of her chances of securing enough points to hold on to her Silk Series title.
She said: “The Silk Series has, once again, been a really great initiative to give female jockeys more opportunities this summer, and the addition of four extra racecourses has been brilliant.
“I always knew it would be as competitive as last year, if not more so, so I’ve been doing everything I can to secure as many points as possible over the summer. The Final is a sprint handicap with 19 runners, so anything could happen, but I’m really hopeful of a great run from Eastern Impact and to keep hold of my title for another year.”
The Silk Series is honoured to welcome Elain Mellor to present the Tufnell Trophy for 2018. A former amateur jockey, Elain was crowned Champion Female Jockey on seven occasions between 1975 and 1985.
Amongst Elain’s most notable wins was the Ladies Diamond Race at Ascot, run on King George Day, aboard Mandalus, trained by Sir Mark Prescott which she won in consecutive years. In addition, Elain rode over 100 winners in Britain and abroad for numerous other trainers including John Dunlop, Tom Jones and Dick Hern. Riding as a flat jockey throughout her career, a rare but memorable National Hunt ride also resulted in a win in a bumper at Cheltenham, the scene of so many victories for her husband, Stan.
Mellor added: “I am absolutely delighted to be asked to present The Tufnell Trophy at Doncaster. Meriel was a pioneer in British racing, showing the determination and confidence necessary to compete successfully. I’m sure Meriel would have been delighted and excited by The Silk Series.
“I’ve been following The Silk Series with a keen interest since it launched last year, and I think it’s a fantastic initiative that shows of the breadth of the talented female jockeys that we have riding in Britain today, both professional and amateur. The female jockeys riding today are at last getting the opportunities they deserve and whoever ends up lifting the Trophy will be a very deserving winner indeed”.
Raising money and awareness for Cancer Research UK, the nine Arena Racing Company racecourses taking part in The Silk Series will donate £1 from every ticket sold to their Ladies Day fixtures. In addition, Cancer Research volunteers have been on course selling merchandise and engaging with racegoers throughout the summer.
Official betting partner bet365 has been helping to raise awareness for The Silk Series online with their significant digital audience and have been offering insight and tips from jockey and broadcaster Hayley Moore. bet365 has given Hayley a £100 charity bet in each race, with all winnings donated to Cancer Research.