WE KNOW the racing industry is a chauvinistic sport - Michelle Payne made this clear when she won the 2015 Melbourne Cup with her defiant "get stuffed" to all who doubt.
You can feel this, still, in a general public trend towards linking the tragic deaths of two well-regarded and competent female jockeys within the past week - one who hails from our state's south-west.
Nine of the past 10 jockey deaths in Australia have been female but a report on the ABC's AM program says those in the industry, including Payne's father Paddy, urge people not to jump to conclusions.
It is a confronting statistic but Australian Jockeys Association chairman Des O'Keefe is right - at this point, it is "dehumanising" for families and friends to delve too much into the numbers.
It is too easy to brush it off as a female issue for the industry when, while undeniably a starting factor, this ultimately needs to be considered as a larger issue in racing.
O'Keefe told AM, "it is an inherently dangerous job, there is no denying that is the cause".
Darwin jockey Melanie Tyndall, aged 32, died after she fell from her horse during a race on Saturday. A day earlier, Hamilton's Mikaela Claridge died during a training accident when her horse got spooked on sand trails at Cranbourne Racecourse. Claridge's had been riding with another female at the time who was also thrown from her spooked horse.
This comes in the same week of the world premiere of Ride Like A Girl, the Rachel Griffiths movie about Payne's historic Cup win, which will open to the public later this month.
Months after her Cup win, Payne had a nasty fall from a horse during a race in Mildura. Payne needed surgery for severe abdominal injury, including a split pancreas.
For the racing industry and those who followed Payne's rise to glory, the injury was a brutal wake-up call for what can be a highly rewarding but incredibly dangerous sport working with incredibly amazing beasts.
Like many Australian sports, horse racing is experiencing a surge in female participation about the tracks.
Payne's Cup win and her higher-profile as a role model for all women and girls would undoubtedly inspire and promote pathways for more females within the racing industry. Payne even launched a women's only syndicate to attract more female investors and owners into the sport.
Therein lies the conundrum: do we need greater safety supports for the influx of women in racing; or, are tragedies involving female riders, including injuries, more inevitable because there are more females riding?
One year ago, apprentice jockey Anthony Boyd was airlifted to The Alfred in an induced coma after a heavy fall during trackwork in Ballarat. His horse stumbled and fell on him.
At the time, it was the second major fall in that week. Melbourne Cup winning jockey Blake Shinn had broken his back in Randwick.
Putting it simply, if half a tonne of horse is falling on top of you after hurtling down a track at 60km/h, gender has nothing to do it.
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