Abu Dhabi: Elise Jeanne is among those few ladies who are trying to break the glass ceiling in horse racing that is predominantly male-dominated.
The French trainer will be gearing up for the biggest night of her career, come Saturday, where she will be pinning hopes on Faucon Du Loup in the race for the Pure Arabians — The Kahayla Classic.
The race not only serves as an opportunity of a lifetime for her but it is also a huge reward for her perseverance and self-belief.
The former dressage and showjumping rider who trains for MH Stables, owned by Mansour Khalifa Sultan Bin Habtoor, is on the verge of fulfilling a long cherished dream of establishing herself on the biggest stage in horse racing.
Jeanne made everyone sit-back and take notice of her training credentials earlier this season when Faucon Du Loup, ridden by Richard Mullen, won the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 trip over 2200m of dirt. The 11 lengths success over RB Dixie Burning, spoke volumes of Jeanne’s ability of getting the best out of Faucon Du Loup.
“For a women, it is a bit difficult to be accepted in a man’s job and you have to lead teams which most of the time are not used to be led by a woman you know,” says Jeanne, who felt that the perception that women aren’t as good as the men can only change after one starts to win races.
“I don’t think too much on things like I’m competing against the men and I’m a woman in the sport and so on. My focus is on the task at hand. I’m happy to be training horse and want to make the most,” said Jeanne, whose world of experience in the breeding of the horses was an add advantage for Mansoor to zero in on Faucon Du Loup before buying it from his owners in Russia.
It wasn’t an ideal start for Faucon Du Loup after switching base to the UAE though. At the capital course, on turf, he ended up finishing a disappointing 15th on debut last November under Adrie De Vries. However, in the conditions race the following month in Al Ain on dirt, under Richard Mullen, Faucon Du Loup showed a lot of promise finishing second and later bolstered his credentials by winning the G1 race in Meydan.
“Du Loup is doing good and working well and we all hope for the best. He is a good horse but he is racing against very good horses as well so let see what happens. I believe in his ability and very optimistic and confident about his chances,” said Jeanne, adding that she feels very lucky to be in-charge of a horse like Faucon Du Loup.
Jeanne has already heralded her arrival on to the big stage and if she can make a mark at the showpiece event she can serve has a huge inspiration for many aspiring women trainers out there.
As far as this World Cup goes, she along with New Zealander Maria Ritchie are the only two lady trainers in fray to saddle a runner each at the Meydan Racecourse. It will interesting to see if these aspiring ladies can become a game changer and create a bit of history this weekend.