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Top female jockey swaps horses for homework

One of Cumbria's top jockeys has decided to give up her professional riding status and return to the amateur ranks so she can take up a teaching job in Penrith.

Emma Sayer has been racing competitively since she was 16 and has been a professional jockey since 2013.

The 24-year-old says it's been a huge decision for her, but that she'll now have the best of both worlds.

Kim Inglis reports:


Amateur jockey preparing for ride of his life

Keith Oakes Credit: ITV Border

An amateur jockey from Appleby is preparing to take part in the world's biggest charity race day.

Keith Oakes had no experience as a horse racer, but he began training at a local racing yard around 18 months ago.

He's now saddling up for the Best Western Macmillian Charity Race in York this summer.

It is always something that I wanted to do but never had the opportunity.

I thought I would challenge myself to see if I could get to that level and take part in it and also raise a lot of money on the way for the Macmillian charity."

– Keith Oakes

Watch: Cumbrian jockey looking forward to Ladies' Night

Emma Sayer has been Cumbria's top female jockey this season, winning three races.

She's racing at Ultimate Ladies' Night this evening, at Carlisle Racecourse, and our reporter Hannah McNulty went to meet her:

There's a lot of excitement building up to tonight, and I'm going to be in five races, so looking forward to that."

– Emma Sayer, jockey

I think it's been a great initiative for Carlisle, to really get behind the ladies of this sport, because it is a male dominated industry, so it's quite nice that the girls have one night that is special to them.

And I think everybody appreciates it, and the ladies of Carlisle have got behind it, and I'm sure everyone will have a great time."

– Diane Sayer, Emma's mother

Racecourse pulls in the crowds

Carlisle Racecourse Credit: ITV Border

Crowds at Carlisle Racecourse have risen by nearly 25 per cent during the first six months of the year.

A total of 19,323 spectators attended fixtures at the city track from February to the end of June (there is no racing at Carlisle in January). That is an increase of 3,711 on the same number of meetings over the same period in 2014.

The biggest single increase was recorded at the Easter Saturday family fun day on April 4 which drew a crowd of 4,636 compared to 3,068 12 months earlier.

Last year's January to June total of 15,612 covered 11 meetings, including one in February which was called off because of bad weather. This year's figures also included one abandonment in February - but crowds were up at eight of the subsequent nine fixtures.

"We're absolutely delighted with the increase in our attendances for the first six months of the year. I'd like to thank everyone who has supported us by coming along to our race meetings so far in 2015. "More and more people are discovering what a great day out it is at the races here at Carlisle. We have superb, modern facilities and the standard of both jumps and flat racing is continuing to rise as we attract increasing numbers of top trainers, owners and jockeys."

– Geraldine McKay, Carlisle Racecourse's general manager
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