Historic Grand National win inspires female jockeys

Horse racing is one of the very few sports where men and women compete side by side - or saddle by saddle - but traditionally it's been a male dominated industry.

However things are changing. Earlier this month Rachael Blackmore became the first female jockey to win the Grand National and figures from Great British Racing reveal a 47 per cent increase in the number of rides for women jockeys at the Cheltenham festival over the last five years.

For Ella McCain, racing is in the blood.

Ella McCain riding in Malton Credit: ITV Calendar

The daughter of trainer Donald McCain, the granddaughter of the legendary Ginger. In the 70's Ginger McCain famously trained Red Rum to three Grand National wins. Back then no woman had ever ridden British racing's showpiece event, let alone won it.

I've grown up watching the Grand National and to finally see a female win it was just amazing, but I think we've got to the point now where we wouldn't class ourselves as female jockeys, we'd just be classed as normal jockeys.

Ella McCain, Jockey

At the National Horseracing College in Doncaster the current intake have certainly been inspired by Rachael's win.

Natasha Ladyman says "It's amazing to see. I really loved her before this year - she'd been doing great before then. Now it's just great to see that she's got that far and made that stamp for everyone."

Students at the National Horseracing College in Doncaster Credit: ITV Calendar

Lucy Cooper agrees. "I've always loved her and I've always looked up to Hollie Doyle as well. The females are doing it at the minute for us, but her win at the Grand National was like "wow, it's our time now.'"

Millie Russell believes it will prove a game changer for equality in racing. "For all girls out there it's inspiring, like 'you can do it.' Whatever you want to do girls can do it now."

Girls who come here will now realise they've got a role model. They've got someone they casn aspire to be. There's Rachael Blackmore on the National Hunt scene and Hollie Doyle on the flat amongst others, so I think girls are going to realise it is achievable and it can happen.

Claire Edmunds, National Horseracing College

Back in the days of Ginger McCain the idea of a woman winning the grand National was unthinkable. Today his granddaughter knows there are no barriers preventing her continuing the family tradition.