Racing: Krone to override old stigma

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The Independent Online
THE ARGUMENT over which side of the Atlantic has the best male jockeys has raged for many years, but the identity of the best female rider from the two camps has never been questioned, writes Richard Edmonsdon.

When Julie Krone arrives for action at a British racecourse for the first time at Redcar tomorrow, she will bring with her an outstanding record of success, a record that shows almost 2,500 winners and over pounds 20m in prize money.

To label Krone the best female jockey in the world is not considered a great compliment by the recipient, though. With some justification, the 28-year- old, the leading rider at Belmont Park this season, believes she has earned comparison with her male colleagues.

'Julie's not a good lady jockey, she's a good jockey full stop,' Yvonne Stapleton, secretary of the Lady Jockeys' Association, which has helped arrange the American's visit, said yesterday. 'She's a one-off.'

Stapleton would prefer if Krone was one of many women able to command respect in racing. Part of the object of the visit is to display what lady jockeys can do given the ammunition.

'We hope that in bringing Julie across people will see what can be achieved given the opportunities, and we thought it would be something to help our girls,' Stapleton said. 'It's 20 years since lady jockeys were allowed to ride and there still is a stigma. Without mentioning names, it's clear people are never very keen to put girls up.'

But several will do so at the Teesside course. Krone, who is riding in Sweden today and Thursday, has five booked rides, while another jockey who has beaten men if not their prejudices, last year's Swedish champion Susanne Berneklint, will also be in action.

Further top names on the card are Joanna Morgan, the former Irish champion apprentice, and Britain's leading woman rider, Alex Greaves.

(Photograph omitted)