Jessica Marcialis: Times are changing, says jockey after historic victory

By Frank KeoghBBC Sport
Jockey Jessica Marcialis
Jessica Marcialis wants her success to encourage other mothers

Jessica Marcialis is targeting more top-level success after being hailed an inspiration for making racing history.

She was watched by three-year-old son Leo when becoming the first female jockey to win a Group One race in France, on Tiger Tanaka.

And Marcialis hopes her example will be an encouragement for other mothers.

"The times are changing. Before...the men work and the mums stay at home," the Italian, 30, told BBC Sport. "Today we are at the same level."

Marcialis won the Prix Marcel Boussac on 4 October on a filly, trained by her boyfriend Charley Rossi, at ParisLongchamp.

A post-race interview in which she sent a message "to all the mums that we can do it, so to be strong" raised her profile further.external-link

The victory came in a race before Europe's richest contest, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

"The win was for all people, not just people in the horse world. A lot of girls will be a mum in their life. I am a mum and a lady jockey," she said.

"It's really important that the lady is a mum, but their life is not finished, or not just for their baby.

"I hope that the people who have given me a chance are proud of me. To see my dad cry, my mum, I can't ask for more.

"We do it with our hearts and when you have heart and love, you can do a lot in life."

Marcialis has been a leading amateur jockey in France, who has ridden outside her homeland in the United States, Mauritius, Switzerland and the Republic of Ireland.

She hopes to ride Tiger Tanaka in another Group One, at Saint-Cloud on 24 October, before tackling Classic races in 2021.

"We want a second child but maybe we will wait now," she said.

"Leo was on the shoulders of my friend when we came in from the race and gave me a high five."

Her triumph came in a one-mile contest where the beaten jockeys included Frankie Dettori, Olivier Peslier and Christophe Soumillon.

"I was really, really happy because before the race in the starting gate, Christophe Soumillon looked at me and said 'Jessie, don't worry, it's a normal race. Do it well and everything will be good,'" she recalled.

"It was really important for me. The big jockeys are different in the big races because they are more concentrated, and it was really special.

"After the finish line there was congratulations and Cristian Demuro gave me his hand so I was happy he won the Arc later. "