REMEMBER Dawn Run? She was female. What about Quevega? Yep, another wonderful mare. I was reminded of these equine luminaries after learning more about a campaign being waged to raise the profile of mares racing. OLBG.com and the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (TBA) have set out with an agenda to try to increase the number of mares and fillies in training, and to also boost the number of mares races in the UK. The knock-on effect would be to increase their value and appeal at the sales. About 5% of the UK racing calendar was dedicated to mares-only racing last year compared to more than 8% in Ireland.
As part of the effort to raise awareness at grassroots level, the campaign is also running an excellent competition to reward the yard that wins the most individual races with mares during the 2012/13 season. Nicky Henderson and Neil Mulholland are currently setting the pace followed closely by Donald McCain and Kevin Bishop.
A new monthly award sponsored by the sports betting community at OLBG is also proving a big success. The OLBG Mare of the Month, also being run in association with the TBA, rewards the trainer of the mare deemed to have delivered the most outstanding performance of the month. The monthly prize is £1,000 that is shared among the staff in the winning stable along with a memento for the trainer. Oliver Sherwood’s Mischievous Milly was the latest mare to claim the award.
These fillies and mares may not have the ability of Dawn Run or the remarkable Quevega but it is vital that opportunities increase for the fairer sex in racing. Some trainers have a penchant for training mares, notably Nicky Henderson and Alan King. Others are not so keen and argue that mares are smaller and weaker than geldings. Don’t let Quevega hear anybody say that.
There are now 18 black-type races for mares in a single NH season and these are almost always quality affairs. Personally, I support this and enjoy mares-only races. A bit more equality on the racecourse can only be a good thing.
For more information on the OLBG and TBA campaign please click here
What do you think? Do you support mares racing? Please feel free to leave a comment below…