Racing Victoria and The Victorian Wakeful Club announce Lady of Racing Finalists

Racing Victoria (RV) and The Victorian Wakeful Club are pleased to announce the four finalists in contention for the prestigious 2019 Lady of Racing Award.

From jockeys to administrators, this year’s field is one of the best yet, as the Lady of Racing Award celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Claudette Luke’s passion and commitment for the racing industry are displayed in everything she does through her helpful and enthusiastic approach to her role as Financial Manager of the Magic Millions Sales.

Described as a “superb administrator” and a “true professional”, Luke is lauded by her peers with many participants, including Mick Price Racing, Star Thoroughbreds and Hawkes Racing, commending her passion for the industry and attention to detail in everything she does.

Recently retired jockey Clare Lindop is a trailblazer for females in the industry, having become the first Australian female to ride in the Melbourne Cup (3200m) when she rode Debben for Leon MacDonald in the 2003 edition of ‘the race that stops a nation’.

Lindop went on to ride in three Melbourne Cups, including placing fifth in 2007 aboard Dolphin Jo for Terry and Karina O’Sullivan, before finishing sixth on board the Bart Cummings-trained Moatize one year later.

After notching more than 1,400 winners, including over 50 ‘black type’ wins, Lindop is still an active member of the industry in her role as an ambassador for various carnivals, including the famous Warrnambool May Carnival, and being involved in many volunteer roles such as acting ambassador for the “Little Heroes Foundation” and participating in the Australian Jockeys’ Association Committee.

Lindop is also the founding member of the Jockeys’ Advisory Board, for the tutoring of apprentice jockeys.

Mentor and “mother” to many, Christine Puls knew she wanted to be a jockey from the age of four, when she would ride sheep around the family farm.

Fast forward to the current day and, as well as being a successful jockey, including winning the Group 3 Hobart Cup (2400m), Puls now acts as mentor to many young jockeys coming through the ranks.

Puls is also an active trackwork rider, and regularly helps strappers and fellow trackwork riders as much as she can.

After spending 12 years abroad in Singapore, Natalie Young is now located in Australia where she runs a hugely successful training operation with her partner, Trent Busuttin, with over 70 horses currently in work.

While Young’s biggest claim to fame is winning the 2011 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington with Sangster (ridden by Hugh Bowman), it is Young’s nurturing nature, which sees her taking young track riders under her wing to help them gain experience in all elements of riding, that ensured she was nominated for the Lady of Racing Award.

President of The Victorian Wakeful Club, Christine Downing, said the calibre of nominations made narrowing down the finalists extremely hard.

“After Amanda Elliott’s win in 2018, we have been extremely pleased to see the quality and quantity of nominees continue to expand in 2019, especially as we celebrate our Silver Anniversary,” Downing said.

“The eventual finalists selected all contribute immensely to the industry in a myriad of ways, and we’re delighted to be able to recognise them in some small way through our annual awards.”

Racing Victoria’s (RV) CEO, Giles Thompson, said the awards align with the industry’s inclusive vision.

“We are delighted to once again support this year’s Lady of Racing Award, which aims to profile and celebrate women who have made an outstanding contribution to the industry,” Thompson said.

“RV is dedicated to ensuring women have the same opportunities to thrive, feel safe and be included in our industry as their male counterparts, and the finalists this year demonstrate the many different ways in which women can excel in the industry.”                                                                                                   

The Lady of Racing Award, established in 1993 by The Victorian Wakeful Club, recognises females who have played a significant role in the thoroughbred racing and breeding industries.

This year’s winner will be announced at the annual Lady of Racing Award Luncheon on International Women’s Day, Friday 8 March 2019, at Flemington Racecourse.