Paddy Power has a rich history of pulling off some epic stunts at the Cheltenham Festival, so why should 2019 be any different? This year we’ve pulled out all the stops with our Fearless Jockey statue. It’s based on the “Fearless Girl”, who stared down Wall Street’s bull after it was unveiled in New York City in 2017.
We thought that since racing is one of the few sports where men and women compete at the same level, it was only right to mark this fact accordingly. After all, who can’t have been inspired by the likes of Katie Walsh, Bridget Andrews, Lizzie Kelly and Rachael Blackmore?
Indeed, the latter helped us out with the casting of this fine construction. Rachael turned up to Pinewood Studios a while back to undergo 3D scanning, the result of which is a 7.5-metre (25-foot) statue located at the main entrance to Prestbury Park.
The sculpture has an internal steel frame (this alone took two weeks to weld) and was machined from rigid polyurethane board using a Kuka robotic arm, and weighs about 300kg – try carrying that weight in the Gold Cup!
The inscription etched into the plinth at her feet aims to remind them of one simple fact: “Some jockeys have big balls. Others are just great jockeys.”
A survey commissioned by Paddy Power found that 83% of racing fans believe it doesn’t matter what gender a jockey is. Yet 2019 could mark the year that Blackmore takes the title of racing’s first ever female professional jump jockey champion.
Speaking at today’s unveiling, where she was joined by several of her colleagues, Blackmore said: “To win the championship is every jockey’s dream. Being female no longer comes into it. The same goes for riding a winner here this week.
“When we walk out of the weighing room during the Cheltenham Festival, we all walk out shoulder to shoulder to compete as equals, regardless of which changing room we used.”
The “Fearless Jockey” statue will form part of a wider campaign by Paddy Power to celebrate and encourage gender equality in racing, the sport of kings – and queens.