Dubai: Switzerland’s Sibylle Vogt says she is excited to defended her title in the International Jockeys’ Challenge at next month’s Saudi Cup meeting in Riyadh.
Last year, the 25-year-old made history when she upstaged some of the world’s top riders, including Frankie Dettori, Yutaka Take and Olivier Peslier, to win the competition.
New Zealander Lisa Allpress won the opening race of the competition to become the first female jockey to win a race in Saudi Arabia, but Vogt was the overall winner of the points-based contest having also been successful in one of the events four races.
“It’s a huge honour to be invited back to take part in the International Jockeys’ Challenge,” Vogt said in a press release from the Saudi Jockey Club. “It was such a good experience and it’s so nice to look back on it. It was an indescribable feeling to beat some of the best jockeys in the world last year — especially Frankie Dettori, as he is one of my idols and he will stay that way.
“I was very excited to be asked to take part because I had never been in such a big competition before. It was great getting to know all those successful jockeys.
“The whole thing was really well organised. The course was well maintained and the track is very fair to ride. I’m really looking forward to this year.”
Winning the International Jockeys’ Challenge, helped Vogt get noticed on the international stage and helped her career to flourish.
After a successful season riding in Germany, she was recruited to ride as second jockey for Arc de Triomphe-winning trainer Peter Schiergen.
Vogt commented: “The victory in the Jockeys’ Challenge helped my career a lot as my name was often in the media and people saw that women could also be successful.
“I think it helped me to integrate into an internationally-successful stable like Peter Schiergen, because it showed that I can perform well on new tracks and under new circumstances.”
This year’s International Jockeys’ Challenge will take place on Friday February 19, the day before the $20 million Saudi Cup, the world’s richest race.
Seven international female riders, two local riders and five international male jockeys will take part.
The prize money in each of the four races will be $400,000 while there is a $100,000 prize pot for the Jockeys’ Challenge with $30,000 going to the winner.