ARC launch ‘The Silk Series’

Arena Racing Company ("ARC") have announced the launch of an exciting new race series for female jockeys – The Silk Series.

Meriel Tufnell pictured with Dick Francis

The Silk Series is a new initiative designed to provide female jockeys, both professional and amateur, with the opportunity to participate in races hosted at nine Ladies' Days at ARC racecourses in 2017.

The prize fund for the nine races will be a minimum of £100,000. The leading female jockey will be awarded 'The Tufnell Trophy' in memory of Meriel Tufnell MBE who was Great Britain's first Female Champion Jockey in 1972, a feat she matched in 1973 along with also becoming European Female Champion Jockey. In addition to her success on the racecourse she also founded the Lady Jockeys' Association – the first such body in the world.

The first race will be hosted at Lingfield Park on Friday 12 May 2017 with the final race held on Ladies Day of the St Leger meeting on Thursday 14 September 2017.

As part of hosting The Silk Series ARC is excited to partner with Cancer Research UK to raise money for the charity's pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

From the sale of each ticket sold for ARC's 2017 Ladies Day series, 75 pence will be donated to the charity. Cancer Research UK will have a presence at all nine Ladies' Days fixtures with racegoers having the opportunity to engage with and support the charity.

David Leyden Dunbar said: "At ARC we pride ourselves on being creative and we are always seeking new ways to innovate and promote our sport.

"We believe the creation of The Silk Series will provide an excellent platform for the UK's very best female jockeys to showcase their talents, while raising funds and awareness for Cancer Research UK.

"I'm delighted that our partnership is beginning with a commitment to ensure a donation from every ticket sold to our Ladies Days goes directly to the charity."

The partnership with Cancer Research UK is particularly poignant given Meriel Tufnell MBE died of cancer aged 53 in October 2002.

Wynne Tufnell, Meriel's brother said: "Meriel would be delighted to know that her name and memory is to be linked with The Silk Series. She was a pioneer in everything she did and she would welcome the new opportunities this initiative provides for female jockeys. As her family we look forward to presenting the winning female jockey with The Tufnell Trophy next September."

The full list of race days is below:

Racecourse

Date of Ladies' Day/Evening in 2017

Lingfield Park

Friday 12 May

Chepstow

Friday 14 July

Great Yarmouth

Wednesday 19 July

Newcastle

Saturday 29 July

Brighton

Thursday 10 August

Wolverhampton

Friday 18 August

Bath

Saturday 19 August

Royal Windsor

Saturday 26 August

Doncaster

Thursday 14 September

Read More at Sporting Life

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