Success for the female jockey series
In November, The Silk Series was awarded
a Racecourse Association Showcase Award following the success of the race series earlier this year. The Silk Series is a new £100,000 race series for female jockeys launched this year by Arena Racing Company (ARC).
CSM helped ARC to develop the brand identity for nine-race series, which included coming up with the name, positioning statement and developing all the creative assets.
Over the last 20 years females have consistently accounted for just 4-5% of the total UK jockey population, with only a 2% rise in the use of female jockeys by racehorse trainers since 1990. ARC, the largest racecourse group in the UK, wanted to put women in the spotlight with a female jockey race series that would showcase the talent of female riders and change attitudes in horseracing.
The objective was to position the series as a female force to be reckoned with that empowers women who not only compete, but also the general female racegoer. We came up with the name ‘The Silk Series’, with the positioning statement ‘Pioneering Sportswomen. Inspiring Achievement’. The branding was designed to be bold, powerful and confident, yet feminine and warm.
The nine-race series was rolled out across ARC’s Ladies Day fixtures during the 2017 flat season, giving opportunities to 36 individual female jockeys to showcase their talents. Several female jockeys experienced significantly improved results this year, including The Silk Series ambassador Hollie Doyle who had 29 winners this season (80% increase from 2016).
As well as promoting current female jockeys, ARC also wanted to honour the history of previous pioneering female jockeys. We came up with the idea of honouring the achievements of Meriel Tufnell, who was the first woman to win a horse race back in 1972, by awarding the most successful jockey of the Series ‘The Tufnell Trophy’. 20-year-old Megan Nicholls became the inaugural Silk Series Champion and she was presented with The Tufnell Trophy by Meriel’s brother, Wynn Tufnell, after the final race of the Series.
The success of the first year of The Silk Series went beyond expectations. The initiative generated new partnerships for ARC with Cancer Research UK and bet365, as well as generating over 50 pieces of media coverage, which reignited the gender diversity debate and raised awareness about the prejudices against female jockeys in British horseracing.
After the success of its first year, The Silk Series has been confirmed to take place for a second year during the summer UK flat season. The ambition for The Silk Series is to significantly improve the landscape for female jockeys in Britain and play a role within the women’s sport debate.