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Rachel Gets A Lifetime Sex Allowance

SA aligns with France

South Africa’s new champion apprentice-in-waiting, and our only active female jockey, Rachel Venniker will benefit from a female sex allowance of 1,5Kg for the remainder of her riding career with effect from 1 August.

Rachel Venniker – top notch lady jock (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

Rule changes published in Friday’s racing calendar without much pomp and fanfare, include the intriguing concession for the fairer sex.

This is in line with an experimental 1,5kg discount introduced in France some years ago, which has apparently levelled the playing field to some degree.

Read the latest NHA calendar here

Why South Africa would align with France, while other leading jurisdictions have not gone the route, is not known.

The Jonsson Workwear-sponsored Miss Venniker has ridden 68 winners this season and is at 14th position on the SA national log. She rides with a designated 53,5kg minimum.

The rule 54.14 states that in the case of a female Apprentice, the allowance shall be 4Kg until the end of the racemeeting in which the Apprentice  has ridden her 20th winner; thereafter the allowance shall be 3Kg until the end of the racemeeting in which the Apprentice has ridden her 40th winner and thereafter 2Kg until the end of the racemeeting in which the Apprentice rides her 50th winner. Thereafter there shall be a permanent female sex allowance of 1,5Kg for the remainder of her riding career.

Watch the latest In The Box Seat interview (prior to the rule change announcement) with Rachel Venniker:

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37 comments on “Rachel Gets A Lifetime Sex Allowance

  1. Kim Meaker says:

    Equestrians have been proudly boasting that their sport is one of very few where in many disciplines men and women compete at the highest level on equal terms for many years. It is shameful that now, South African racing has decided that it should not be so. We are not “female jockeys”, “lady jockeys” or “jockettes”. We have competed alongside our male counterparts, often battling against much negativity and a reluctance of support, and have proved ourselves worthy of our place on the racetrack. We have done that without allowances other than those prescribed across the board to all riders. Frankly, this sex allowance is insulting. Since when did the NHA and France Galop align on anything anyway? No jockey, male or female wants to be considered to only be favourable to trainers because of their claim. That will happen. No jockey wants to graft to lose their claim only to remain a “claiming professional”. Out of all the changes that could and should be implemented, how did this change take precedence? I can’t even see why it would be in the NHA’s vernacular. A sad decision for sport equality. Now there is a reason to call us “female jockeys”.

  2. Peter Wrensch says:

    Absolutely. Spot on Kim.

  3. Peter Wrensch says:

    What an insult! You’re not good enough so we’ll give you some help. At the expense of other qualified riders.
    So much for fair and equitable business practice.
    Since we have AA, BEE, BBEEE, EE let’s add FEE.
    Is the implementation date 1 August or 1 April?

  4. Tony Rivalland says:

    This was never placed on any Agenda of the Rules Committee of the NHA; another egregious decision without consultation. An absolute insult to Racheal as she has demonstrated her ability to ride every bit a well as her male counterparts; but then this is what one has come to expect from our regulator.

  5. Agree 100%. Disgraceful decision

  6. Louis Goosen says:

    Absolute rubbish

  7. Rian Rix says:

    How many jocs are going to change sex now, wow, it’s a crude decision just like the colour of oil
    The NHA dogs are barking again

  8. John Mynhardt says:

    There will be views on both side but I believe this is the right move and should have been done long time ago. Being a jockey in racing is extremely physical and no matter what we think stats don’t lie. I can’t recall any female jockey ever being in the top 100 TRC global rankings ? I stand corrected but there is about 15 in the current top 500 TRC global rankings, with highest at +- 200 position. This can not be because of lack of talent. Just asked the Williams sisters the difference after their games against Braasch in 1998.This move will also influence more younger ladies to take up the career. There can’t be 2 leagues as in golf, cricket. tennis etc. Thus there has to be some kind of handicap system for jockeys. We already have a sex allowance for fillies racing against colts & geldings and I don’t see any complaints there ? The prove will be in the pudding. Hopefully we’ll have many female jockeys at the top level in years to come. Competitive competition is always good for any sport. May Rachel become a household name !!!

  9. Gavin Van Zyl says:

    This is grossly unfair on the owners and punters ! How do you expect to beat a competent rider like Rachel when she jumps 1,5kg ahead of the pack.
    There are jockeys riding that pound for pound can’t hold a candle to Rachel, if anyone needs a 1,5kg claim it’s the jockeys that don’t finish their claim before they qualify and eventually fall by the wayside. Why not extend their claim? Some jockeys weigh 45kgs others weigh 58kgs, surely logic must tell us that the lite weight is disadvantaged ? What had happened to GENDER EQUALITY?
    How are motions like this just pushed through and dished up on the owners and trainers plate in a take it or leave it type attitude.
    Is this what horse racing in SA has come down to?
    Holly Doyle evidently rejected a proposal like this herself. Good on her.
    This is a subtle form of beating the system to the advantage of those that use Rachel.
    What next !?

  10. Nico Kritsiotis says:

    When are the NHA releasing the over 50s allowance for Shannon Devoy, Strydom et al.

  11. Ken Nicol says:

    Very strange indeed as Rachel has clearly shown she is the best appy around, and now gets a lifetime advantage over her contemporaries. Go figure!!!

  12. Rian Rix says:

    Mr Mynhardt , Hollie Doyle is at 60 th spot on TRC Global rankings , she has already ridden 100 this season after a winner against the best jocs on international day at Sha tin
    Last year she finished on 172
    Imagine the scarry number she would achieve with a 1,5 kg sex claim, what’s more she has many challenges when she doesn’t feel well once a month, something her fellow men jockeys don’t get, otherwise they wouldn’t ride for a week

  13. Errol Budlender says:

    An absolute shocking decision that cannot go unchallenged. On what basis have the NHA decided that a very able and competent rider needs a sex allowance. I’m sure Rachel would not agree to this.
    What happens when she becomes champion jockey in the country do we then change the rules to allow all males to get a 1.5kg allowance against their female competitors?
    The female jockeys in UK & Australia do very well without any sex allowance or haven’t our racing regulators noticed this?
    The racing administrators need to hang their collective heads in shame.

  14. Does the SA Jockey Association have any particular view on the female allowance? Are they not represented on the NHA? .

  15. Paul Garlicki says:

    Amazing how the rules get changed with no consultation or debate , the NHA as so often happens, just blunder on. This is an insult to Rachel , who has proven herself quite up to competing with the boys .

  16. Kenny Masilela says:

    Ultimately this decision will benefit all future female riders, Rachel’s ability is irrelevant.

  17. Neil P. says:

    Hard to understand the logic here.
    Your Grp 1 top weighted horse with Rachel aboard now becomes ” well in” before merit ratings are even considered.
    Nico K comment above might have some “weight” behind it now.

  18. Donald Bradshaw says:

    What a disgraceful and disrespectful decision , disgraceful to all involved in the sport as described by Tony Rivalland / Gavin Van Zyl and disrespectful to Rachel in particular.

    This crazy decision is going to have an extremely negative effect on all her male counterparts from the top race riders to the the jockeys who struggle to get rides.

    Louis Goosen has summed it up well ” ABSOLUTE RUBBISH ” !

  19. Cliff Miller says:

    Why was this not in place when Lisa and Nadine and all other ladies rode. RACHEL is good enough to compete with anybody . I feel sorry for her just trying to compete in what she loves without inteverence from the top. Let her be.

  20. Sherwin Sewlal says:

    That’s it, I’m gonna train my son to be a female jockey when he grows up.
    An absolute insult to Rachel. She rides just as well as the top riders, and this basically means that she needs a claim for the rest of her life in order to be equal to the male riders.

  21. Geoff V Lear says:

    What about transgender and gay jockeys , what allowance do they get ?
    Asking for a friend.
    What an absolute joke and an insult to Rachel’s riding ability !!

  22. Graham Martin says:

    What happened to 1Kg = 1 length? So she gets a one and a half lengths start before the race is even run!

  23. Jay August says:

    It is sad that Rachel has become the object of this discussion. She is a young person on the initial path of a successful career and should not be co-opted as the poster-person when determining what the best course of action is. The issue affects all females who will come after her and the jockeys, both male and female, who will compete against her in the future.

    It is therefore not simply a decision on what is best for Rachel, and one hopes that this was not a primary consideration in the decision. Rachel’s popularity was obtained not through an unfair advantage but through fair competition against other males and against unfavourable odds. That attests adequately to her personal and mental strength, and to her ability as a jockey.

    The NHA owes the industry and the public a full explanation on why this decision was reached, what data and input were consulted, and what process was followed in reaching the conclusion. Whether that would suffice to explain what appears a hasty and possibly insensitive decision is debatable.

    The NHA board should immediately rescind this decision, request wider input from the industry, consider divergent opinion, and release a considered and reasoned view on the matter at a to-be-decided future date. The NHA board has enough legal eagles who I would hope would work pro bono as their contribution to a logical and rational debate, and conclusion.

  24. Theodore John Roelofsz says:

    Doing a man’s job for manly pay…take the knocks and bumps like a man, get penalized like a man, the only time jockettes should be “differentiated” is the toilets.. !!!.
    FINIS & KLAAAA…!!!.

  25. Mark Sham says:

    Moodley and Hyde once again showing their colours by just doing whatever they want without consulting the other industry players. I forgot ….Moodley is the CEO so can do whatever he wants !
    Until owners, trainers and jockeys take a stand against the current attitude of NHA management racing in SA can never move forward. Especially the most important people , the punters, who are totally ignored.

  26. Frankie Zackey says:

    Frankie Zackey…Kenny Masilela well done your answer was a proper uppercut “lights out” 🥊 My only concern is the 1,5 KG enough ? in Rachel’s case I think she’ll be able to cope well… Let’s call a Spade a Spade,, it’s only taken 35 years to finally see a female taking part in the Greatest Horse Racing Event in SA the Hollywoodbets Durban July…Unfortunately Rachel she suffered a slight injury and could sadly not take part…. It’s was Headlines on every racing site that a female jock has finally managed to get a ride in the Hollywoodbets Durban July Tks to World Class JHB Based Trainer Mr Joe Soma… Let’s Give The Female Jocks A Chance To Make A Career From Riding Racehorses In SA Knowing That Their Lifespan Is Way Shorter Than Male Jocks.. Well Done Vee Moodley

  27. Francois van Ghent says:

    I really don’t understand the fuzz, one of these days she will pack her bags and go riding either Down under or in the UK, or even in France, where proper stakes is applicable. SA horseracing can’t compete against overseas racing.

  28. Frankie Zackey says:

    Frankie Zackey… I find it very strange that we have 2 100m Olympics finals 1 for fillies and mares and 1 for colts and geldings …. Lol … Imagine if we only had 1 100m final in the Olympics 🤔 Time And Distance To Follow

  29. Andrew Harrison says:

    A few questions
    Can female apprentices now claim 5.5kg as they will now be deemed ‘inferior’ to their male counterparts.
    Does the claim apply in Graded races?

    If the claim does apply in Graded races if I were a trainer with aspirations of winning the Hollywoodbets Durban July I would already have approached Hollie Doyle to keep a date in her diary along with Rachel, Lisa Allpress, Jamie Kah, Josephine Gordon and even jump jockey Rachael Blackmore.
    Just saying

  30. George Croucher says:

    So will any new Jockettes then be receiving 5,5kg, 4Kg and 3kg as they progress thru their apprenticeship???

  31. Rob Mc Alister says:

    This is also press misleading . It’s not an allowence just for Rachel, who clearly doesn’t need it but for all lady jockeys !!!.

    I am also bit concerned reading Tony Rivellands comments about the NHA that seem to do as they please ?????

    1. Editor says:

      Hi Rob
      Rachel is the only lady jockey at the moment.

  32. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Hey Mr Harrison, lol, you should be able to answer your own question …. Nice article in your ( * oldest paper in SA * ) today by David Thistleton – quoting Michael Roberts, Rachel’s mentor saying his owners will support the 1.5 Kg claim… It also says Rachel and Michael reserves comments ..

    Personally I hope Rachel is allowed to and will reject this, very unfair on her.

    Yes, I was one that said hope Rachel gets same support when 4 and 2.5Kg falls away and still performs… Well, she does, and very happy for her – Good ‘ Jockey ‘ with a bright future..

    Us locals will support a 1.5 Kg + + allowance for all our KZN horses during Summer Season though. LoL

    * The Natal Witness is the oldest Newspaper in SA, and to my knowledge William W read it from the start .. waar is William 🤣

    Regards – The Falls Mayor

  33. Melanie Hardicks says:

    All your comments are noted. let rachel decide if she wants the allowance or not.

  34. Jay August says:

    There are no jockey claims allowed in pattern races. All riders compete on an equal footing without any additional advantage other than their own ability, or that allowed their mount under a handicap or condition in such races.

    Cecil’s suggestion that all KZN trained horses should get a 1.5kg claim in the Winter season is quite allowable under the existing NHA rules, except that pattern races may not have local conditions – this is usually applied to country but should be interpreted as region also.

    There are any amount of variation to NHA rules permissible when framing the conditions of a race, but local and jockey allowances cannot be applied in graded races, unless the operator is prepared to lose that races graded status.

    Graham Martin will be happy to note that there is nothing that precludes a race programmer from framing race figure races, except that such races may not have the suffix or prefix of “handicap” applied as this is only allowed when framing a race using merit ratings in the manner intended for benchmarked merit rated handicaps.

  35. Graham Martin says:

    So Jay August if you don’t call RF races handicap races then what do you call them? And also all the previous July handicaps that were called “handicaps” as per the RF system of handicapping were not handicaps then? Was it just a rumor?

  36. Jay August says:

    Graham Martin, perhaps we call them Delusional Stakes. No rumour, just science!

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