Tumut Claims Woman Jockey Record
20 February 1945 The Tumut and Adelong Times
City Wager Undecided
A wager made in a city business office a week ago on which woman was the first officially recognised as a winning jockey on a registered racecourse in Australia is still undecided.
To the claim made on behalf of Miss Eva Draper, who rode Mown Hay to victory at Bundaberg (Q.) Jockey Club meeting in 1915, the other man has countered with a nomination from Tumut, at a race meeting in 1854.
Businessman No. 1 said: "I saw Miss Draper win that race.
'She was a smart rider, and was registered as a jockey with the club under Q.T.C. rules. I regard the Tumut nominee as a 'ring-in'.
'Businessman No. 2 said: 'My nomination is no 'ring-in'.
'In 1854 a squatter took a thorough bred from Albury to Tumut.
The incident is mentioned on pages 38 and 39 of Tumut's official 'Centenary Record,' which states: 'When the race was due to start an aboriginal woman, with her hair tied in a handkerchief, sprang lightly into the saddle and, riding astride, piloted the horse to victory'.
"The record goes on to say that the other jockeys were so dumbfounded to find themselves riding against a black gin that they failed to do their best."
[Reference to a Tumut Centenary book reveals that the year in which the race took place at Tumut is not mentioned, though the Rankin Bros., to whom the story is attributed, arrived in these parts in 1854]
While the men said they intend to refer the inquiry to the A.J.C. for guidance, they are intrigued by a report that South Australia is likely to furnish still another claimant.
In that case, it is stated, women jockeys figured in a race at Oakbank each year, but the event was abandoned because of a rumour that one of the riders carried a battery.
Normally the stewards would have asked the jockey to strip, but in this case discretion yielded to duty and they cancelled the race.