She may be the only female jockey riding at Flemington on Saturday but Lauri Wray says the tables are turning.
“It’s definitely tough and they still want to put the boys on over the girls, but we’re getting more accepted,” Wray told AAP.
“Most girls are natural lightweights, and the boys seem to be getting heavier and heavier and struggling with the weight. It’s going to be mostly girls riding in a few years’ time.”
Not that anything will be weighing her down when she rides McClintock on Saturday in the Group Three Tab.com.au Stakes (1400m).
The Mark De Montfort-trained eight-year-old is on the comeback trail after failing to fire in Singapore.
Former jockey De Montfort didn’t hesitate to pay $25,000 to bring McClintock home and save him from an uncertain future, saying he owed it to the horse who gave him his first winner as a trainer, his first winner at Randwick and his first Group trophy.
And Wray is confident he can perform well on Saturday after two encouraging runs from a spell.
“His runs have been outstanding,” she said.
“His first run was over 1200 (metres) at Caulfield and we went really hard early.
“I didn’t get an easy lead, and he’s a horse that has to lead to win his races, so to box on and only lose by a head was really good, a tough effort.
“And his second run was really good, too; it was a tougher race, a better class of horse.”
De Montfort continues to be a mentor for Wray, who served as his apprentice until becoming a fully-fledged jockey in August.
“He’s been a real asset to my career,” she said.
“He’s like a walking encyclopaedia.
“He still goes through my race tapes and watches me, helps me with my riding, (and) I ride work with him, too.”
And De Montfort, she says, has proven to be a prophet.
“He knows how to read races, and what he says is going to happen usually happens.
“So when you go out to ride his horses he gives you confidence.”
And as for the rider, so for the horse.
“Mark has definitely got the key to (McClintock),” Wray said.
“He’s a bit quirky, he’s not that easy to train, and he doesn’t handle the heat too well, so that’s why he wouldn’t have (performed) in Singapore.”
But now both of them have found their stride, and the newly-minted senior rider has her eye on the prize this weekend.
“I’m averaging a win a week, so I’m doing a lot better now than I was as an apprentice,” she said.