With its rich history of successful women in the racing industry, the Illawarra is preparing to set an Australian benchmark with the launch of a signature raceday dedicated to celebrating women at all levels in the sport.
The inaugural Black Diamond Cup will debut at Kembla Grange on Sunday, 6 December 2015 as a seven-race program which will include a points system targeting female jockeys and trainers.
This makes the Illawarra Turf Club the only one in Australia with a day dedicated to women in racing at all levels from jockeys, trainers and owners to stable staff and patrons.
The Black Diamond Cup, named both to reflect the Illawarra’s history as a coal mining region and to represent the value of women in racing, will raise money for the Salvation Army’s Carinya Cottage which provides emergency housing for women and their children in situations of dire domestic abuse.
The feature racing event will carry prize money of $40,000 while the point system will determine winners in two female challenges – the Lady Jockey Challenge and the Lady Trainer Challenge. Points will be awarded for first, second and third-placegetters throughout the seven-race program with the winners having the most points at the end of the meet.
ITC CEO, Peter de Vries, said The Black Diamond Cup is an important addition to the race calendar with the capacity to grow into a prestigious event for the region.
“As we saw recently with jockey Michelle Payne becoming the first woman to win the Melbourne Cup, the role of women within the racing industry cannot and should not be underestimated,” he said. “The Illawarra is well known for the calibre of the women it has produced in all aspects of the sport and we felt it was time they received the recognition they deserve. The best way we could think of to do that was with an Australian-first, signature event that put women front and centre on the racetrack.”
The inaugural Black Diamond Cup was launched at Kembla Grange on Tuesday (17th November). The public can go to – www.blackdiamondcup.com.au – for more information.