Ward sponsorship spurs on apprentice Jenny Powell to biggest career win yet
The last few months have seen apprentice jockey, Jenny Powell, enjoy her biggest career win to date, thanks in part to sponsorship from Ward.
Ward, the fourth generation family firm of metal and waste recycling specialists is headed up by racehorse owner and breeder David Ward Snr, alongside his brother Michael. Having known Jenny in the very early days of her apprenticeship, Ward responded to a call out on social media from Jenny for potential backers. They agreed a 12 month sponsorship deal earlier this year to provide a leg up for the female jockey’s career. Ever since she has enjoyed a successful streak, with her biggest win on Azari at Haydock.
Apprentice jockey Jenny Powell, daughter of 1988 Grand National Winner Brendan Powell, met David Ward several years earlier at trainer Tom Dascombe’s stables in Cheshire where several of his own racehorses train.
David Ward, Joint Managing Director at Ward and owner of more than 20 horses said: “I met Jenny back in 2014 when she was an apprentice at Tom Dascombe’s stable. Tom wanted a horse for Jenny to ride in races, to learn race riding, so I bought Stec, specifically with Jenny in mind. Stec turned out to be very good, winning three races from five runs. It was superbly ridden by Jenny and she showed real potential.”
Powell parted company with Tom Dascombe in 2015 and Stec was sold to race in Hong Kong. On advice of industry mentors, Powell spent some time in the US and Dubai honing her riding skills and broadening her experience, returning to the UK in 2017 to resume her apprenticeship.
Ward added: “I was in contact with Jenny again when she joined trainer Ed Walker and was able to respond to a request for sponsorship when she needed it. Amazingly her first ride back for me after three years was on Azari at Haydock, trained by Tom Dascombe and she managed to win from a big field in a very competitive and fairly valuable race.”
“It can be very difficult for female jockeys to get backing within the industry. Female jockeys are still vastly outnumbered with around 50 female to 350 male professional jockeys in the UK.
“A recent study by the British Horse racing Association found that when it comes to sponsorship, women have the extra challenge of being considered ‘weaker’ and more of a gamble. However, with sponsorship athletes can focus on progressing within their sport instead of becoming distracted by finding funding. We wanted to give Jenny a helping hand to boost her career and she’s already been exceptionally lucky for us.”
Jenny Powell added: “Sponsorship from the Ward team has been fantastic. It covers the cost of all the equipment, branded clothing, britches and riding helmet, so is a big help financially, but it is so much more than the money. The team are so lovely, really supportive and have given me the chance to get more regular rides. I’ve had my two biggest winners too, previously on Stec and more recently on Aazri.
“Even though I come from a racing family, it is really tough for girls and women in horse racing as it is such a male dominated sport, but with the right attitude and the right support behind you anything is possible.”
Now working with trainer Ed Walker at Lambourn, Jenny rides out horses each day. She is regularly racing on David’s horses, is working towards completing her apprenticeship and hopes to inspire other female jockeys in the future.