January 19th, 2021
Victoria Racing Club (VRC) Ambassador Georgia Connolly will make her international debut as an amateur jockey at Glorious Goodwood in the Magnolia Cup tomorrow, all in the name of charity. The 2019 Magnolia Cup charity race will feature a field of strong, inspirational women from the worlds of business, sport, fashion, music, and media, who will set aside their day jobs to become jockeys for the occasion. The Racing Horse would like to introduce Georgia Connolly to its readers, the first Australian woman to take to the famous track. She will ride the George Baker trained Harry Hurricane.
Georgia told us: "After months of preparation I am so excited to saddle up tomorrow for the Magnolia Cup and am so proud to be involved in raising funds for WELLBEING of WOMEN, a very worthy cause. I am deeply grateful for the support of the Victoria Racing Club and incredibly proud to represent them on the world stage. I would also like to thank Goodwood for inviting me to take part and helping me prepare for the race."
She continued: "I have spent the past ten days getting to know the horses in George Baker's stable at Robins Farm and I am hopeful I will be paired with Harry Hurricane, last year's Magnolia Cup winner, and that we can get the job done for Australia!"
Wearing bespoke blue jockey silks designed by acclaimed fashion designer Mary Katrantzou, Georgia will gallop down the Goodwood straight in front of more than 25,000 spectators in the opening race of Ladies' Day, 1 August, during the Qatar Goodwood Festival.
She will come up against stiff competition with the field of 12 including Olympic gold medallist Victoria Pendleton, Vogue cover girl and a competitor in last year's Magnolia Cup Rosie Tapner and Irish television personality Vogue Williams.
It is the culmination of months of training including a rigorous fitness and riding test along with working with some of the biggest names in the industry including fellow VRC Ambassador and Hall of Fame trainer Gai Waterhouse, Olympic eventer Amanda Ross, UK-born and Ballarat-based trainer Matt Cumani, Racing Victoria's Apprentice Jockey coach Darren Gauci, multiple Group 1 winning jockey Ben Melham and Mornington Peninsula-based trainer Jason Warren.
VRC Chairman Amanda Elliott, who will be on hand to support Georgia at tomorrow's raceday, said Georgia's journey to the Magnolia Cup had captured racing fans attention. She told us: "Georgia is a talented equestrian rider but making the leap to amateur jockey has been a test of her mental and physical strength. She has embraced the challenge and I, along with the rest of the Victoria Racing Club and racing fans throughout Australia, wish her all the best. Whatever the result, Georgia has shown us the enormous amount of work it takes to become a jockey and the skill these impressive athletes, both equine and human, need to compete."
Georgia first mounted a horse when she was three years old and has been riding ever since. She owns five horses and spends most of her spare time competing in dressage events but she has never before been a jockey and the aspiring jockey has tested her body in ways she had never done before in preparation. Retraining her riding style from dressage to racing was the biggest challenge and it was not easy.
MAGNOLIA CUP JOCKEYS
Georgia Connolly (Equestrian eventer/VRC ambassador)
Vogue Williams (Irish TV presenter)
Victoria Pendleton (Olympic gold medallist)
Rosie Tapner (British fashion model)
Sophie Van Der Merwe (Professional event rider)
Kitty Trice (Racing Post journalist)
Valeria Holinger (Skikjöring Racer)
Rachael Gowland (Marketing communications manager)
Kate Grover (Executive assistant)
Alexis Green (BBC weather presenter/journalist)
Luisa Zissman (English retail entrepreneur)
Khadijah Mellah (18-year-old London student)
This year the Magnolia Cup will benefit Wellbeing of Women, Britain's leading women's reproductive and gynaecological health charity dedicated to saving the lives of women and children across the United Kingdom.
Janet Lindsay, CEO, Wellbeing of Women comments: “Wellbeing of Women is delighted to be the chosen charity partner for the 2019 Magnolia Cup. This prestigious charity race stands out in its continued support for women. Even in an era of #MeToo with a drive to improve diversification and gender pay gaps, women’s health research remains overlooked and underfunded, with many women suffering in silence. Research can unlock the next medical breakthroughs and we are dedicated to improving women’s lives and breaking taboos in health. As women’s health affects the whole family, we are honoured that the Magnolia Cup has chosen to champion this important issue and would like to thank Goodwood and The Duke of Richmond for this wonderful opportunity.”
The Racing Horse was invited to the 2017 Melbourne Cup by the Victoria Racing Club and had our best experience in our 52 years of horse racing. We hope they take home the Magnolia Cup and that Georgia Connolly and Amanda Elliott receive the same welcome given to me...
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