HISTORIC DAY AT ROYAL RANDWICK
Lesley Bellden becomes the first female jockey to win a registered race at Royal Randwick.
March 30, 2023
Fourty years ago on Derby Day (now The Star Championships Day 1) at Royal Randwick, Lesley Bellden made history.
She became the first female jockey to win a registered race at Randwick Racecourse, when she won on Mystic Mahal.
Born in England, she first started to ride and was fond of horses from the beginning. When the family moved to Australia in 1969 near to Warwick Farm, she registered for track work. Finding out there were races just for women, she immediately got involved. After her work with Elizabeth Collett to get the rules changed, she registered as a jockey with the AJC from 1979/80 to 1993/94.
Bellden raced at metropolitan, country, and provincial courses. She rode for trainers such as Mrs Sheppard, Colin Hayes, Mrs Fox, and D. M. Sweeney.
Then on 4 April 1983, Derby Day at Randwick, Bellden was aboard Mystic Mahal at Randwick racing in the W. N. Parry-Okeden Handicap. Mrs J. M. Duke was the trainer. It was a history making moment as Bellden crossed the post half-a-head in front of Tinwood to become the first female jockey to win a registered race at Randwick.
It came a month after jockey Miss Jane Spence was the first female jockey to win on a Sydney Metropolitan track when she won the Very Merry Handicap on Our Fable trained by V. C. Miller on 14 March 1983.
The Group 1 ATC Australian Derby will be run on Saturday at Royal Randwick for The Star Championships Day 1.
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