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  • Writer's pictureJo O'Neill

An Interview with Former Jump Jockey Lizzie Kelly

Lizzie Kelly, now Partridge, rode approximately fifty point-to-point winners whilst studying and went onto ride at the top level with lots of success, mostly on horses trained by Neil King, her stepfather, Nick Williams and Mum, Jane Williams. She was the first female jockey to win a Grade 1 over jumps when winning the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day in 2015. Tea For Two, her mount that day, had previously won her a Lanzarote Hurdle and went on to win her the Betway Bowl at Aintree in 2017, beating Cue Card by a neck. He took her to three Gold Cups, enabling Lizzie to be the first female jockey to have a ride in the race for over thirty years.

Photo Credit: JMJphotographyuk

Lizzie rode two Cheltenham Festival winners, Coo Star Silvola in 2018 in the Ultima Handicap Chase and, a year later, Siruh Du Lac in the Brown Advisory and Merriebelle Stable Plate. She also scored three big successes on Agrapart – the 2016 Betfair Hurdle at Newbury, the Relkeel Hurdle and Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham.

In 2019, Lizzie married husband Ed Partridge, and this summer, simultaneously to the announcement of her retirement, revealed they are expecting their first child. Ed and Lizzie are also are setting up a pre-training/breaking yard together, and have a joint venture, Valentine Bloodstock, on which to focus. A Devonshire girl through and through, Lizzie lives in South Molton, Devon.

Photo Credit: Becky Bailey Racing Phototgraphy

What were your favourite horses? Tea For Two for all the obvious reasons but Siruh Du Lac was pretty special to ride.

What was your best ever day’s racing? Winning the Betway Bowl at Aintree.

Is there any horse, past or present, you wish you could have ridden? I’d loved to have ridden Moscow Flyer.

What was the best aspect of being a jockey? All of it! I had a blessed career but the people I rode with and against made it very special.

Who were your biggest influences? I’ve met so many amazing people in racing who did wonders for my riding and I worked with some very talented people. I’d like to think that they all helped in one way or another.

Did you ever meet any animosity towards you as a female jockey? Not particularly - not from anyone I know and respect anyway.

Photo Credit: Racehorsephotos

What have you been doing since retirement? Just the same as always to be honest, just not riding as much as I get further along in my pregnancy!

What is the hardest habit of being a jockey to overcome in retirement? I think it’s difficult to get your weight out of your head. I’ve found it may be slightly easier to accept I’m getting heavier because obviously I’m pregnant, but I reckon I’d be struggling with it if I weren’t!

Are you looking forward to motherhood?! Yes, I can’t wait - I’ve always wanted a family.

What are your long-term plans for the future? My husband and I are setting up a pre-training and breaking yard at the moment, which is exciting!

Photo Credit: Becky Bailey Racing Photography

What’s your favourite meal? Mum’s roast.

What’s your favourite holiday destination? I went to Dubrovnik, Croatia on my honeymoon and stayed in such an amazing hotel. Bliss!

What are your hobbies? Reading is probably the only hobby I’m actually capable of right now!

So, are you a bookworm? Yes, I suppose so – my favourite book I’ve read recently was A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.

Photo Credit: Michael Harris (left)

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