A rising jockey star with Grand ambition

Mane attraction: 16-year-old Emma Chaston is training to become a jockey, and has ambitions to ride in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National. Emma with her horses Syrian (left) and Radio Nowhere
Mane attraction: 16-year-old Emma Chaston is training to become a jockey, and has ambitions to ride in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National. Emma with her horses Syrian (left) and Radio Nowhere
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A teenage jockey is hoping to upset the odds with ambitions of becoming the first female rider to win the Grand National.

Emma Chaston, 16, has hopes of winning some of horse racing’s top prizes and is already competing in amateur events across the country.

The Kirkham Grammar School student has worked with top trainers in the sport, including the likes of Nigel Twisten-Davies and Donald McCain – and aims to one day enter the winner’s paddock at Aintree in Liverpool.

Emma said: “I want to win all the big races.

“Winning a title and making a name for myself is important but I want to win the big races and I would like to be the first girl to be champion jockey.

“I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie. If I get an injury racing that is just how it is.

“I hope to go to France in the summer before coming back starting as a conditional rider, which is partway between an amateur and professional.

“If that goes well I hope to step up to professional.”

Emma started competing as a nine-year-old in pony racing before riding smaller thoroughbreds under the guidance of trainer Richard Ford near her home in Scorton, near Garstang.

She is currently riding in point-to-point races, training everyday and has ambitions to ride in America, having already ridden in Ireland last year.

Last month she took part in an amateur race at Wolverhampton, guiding her horse, Syrian, to second place at odds of 50/1.

Despite early success, the student faces a tough rise to the top, with female jockeys often finding it hard to get a racing spot .

Mum Paula said: “She is very aware it is really difficult.

“She has to be hard as nails. Being a girl is a huge disadvantage as it is very difficult to make it.

“The only girls at the moment are the likes of Katie Walsh, Nina Carberry and Lizzie Kelly – most girls want to stay amateur.

“Trainers are concerned girls are not as strong as men in dealing with falls and are not as brave.

“Every time she gets on the horse you worry about her – it is a constant worry – but it’s not for me to stop her.

“This is what she has set her heart on doing and we will support her.

“It is a long road to the Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup.

“She has to be realistic... but she can go as far as she wants.”