Former champion jockey Tony McCoy has suggested female jockeys should receive a riding allowance to compensate for what he believes is a strength disadvantage.
It is a debate that has been reignited globally by Michelle Payne’s combative comments after becoming the first female jockey to lift the Melbourne Cup, and the 20-time champion jockey has voiced some forthright thoughts on the issue.
McCoy, who joins Channel 4’s broadcast team for the Cheltenham Open meeting today and has promised strong opinions, got the ball rolling a day early in his William Hill blog.
McCoy’s argument centred on his belief that a female rider could not be “as physically strong as a bloke”.
He suggested that female riders should be treated with the same approach as fillies and mares, who receive a weight allowance from their male opposition.
‘Women are not as strong as men’
Discussing Michelle Payne’s comments after her Melbourne Cup win he said: “It was brilliant for her to win the race and tactically she gave Prince Of Penzance a brilliant ride, but I’m not sure that was the time to call racing a chauvinistic sport.
“The female jockeys are very, very competent riders but perhaps a woman should receive an allowance like a filly does in a race. It’s a very physically demanding sport and they’re not going to be as physically strong as a bloke. They can’t be.
“Tactically they can be as good but if it comes down to strength in a finish, a woman is not going to be as strong as a man. There aren’t many sports where women compete against men and on a day to day basis are women as physically strong as men? No they’re not. It’s just fact.”