LINDA JONES
Jockey
1952

New Zealand's first female jockey

Not only was Linda Jones New Zealand's first female jockey legally allowed to race against males – she was also one of our top jockeys during her short stint in the saddle.

Jones first made headlines when she was among 11 would-be female jockeys who took part in the Power Puff Derby in 1970 – run at a time when women were banned from competing as jockeys.

Jones made her first formal application to become a fully fledged jockey in 1976 – but that was knocked back on the grounds that, at 24, she was too old, and also out of fear that she wasn't strong enough.

One year later Jones' application was approved by the New Zealand Racing Conference and in 1978 she rode her first winner at the Te Rapa course aboard Big Bickies.

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In September 1978 she rode four winners on the same day at Te Rapa – a first for a female jockey – and finished second in that year's Jockey Premiership.

Jones went on to become the first New Zealand woman to win an open handicap race, the first female jockey to ride a winner at Ellerslie, won the Wellington Derby on Holy Toledo, and also raced professionally in Australia, South Africa, Europe and North America.

Jones' career proved to be both successful and short, with a training accident forcing her to retire after just two full seasons.

She was later awarded an MBE for services to the racing industry and has also been inducted into New Zealand Racing's Hall of Fame.