Bev meets an old favourite

BEVERLEY Buckingham is one of Tasmania’s greatest jockeys and she recently visited King Island to be reunited with 32-year-old thoroughbred Jam City, winner of the 1996 Hobart Cup and meet up with old island friends.

Jam City was owned by King Islanders John Keys, Ray (Stumpy) Hill and trained by Ken Keys. Jam City now lives out his days on a property on Fraser Road. Ms Buckingham said Jam City was a city class horse. “He was a beautiful horse and a character. “When I heard he was still around, I had to come and see him. It’s my first time to King Island. “The KI Cup is the only cup I haven’t won”, she laughed. “It was luck I got to ride him, rider changes and delayed races meant I got the ride.”

Talking about her racing early days she said: “I was a novelty, I was very good. I apprenticed to Dad, there were trials, and chief stewards, and no opportunities to ride in the mainland city races. “Once females were allowed to ride as jockeys, there were five main female jockeys, Kimmy (Dixon) who has come with me to King Island was one of those. I think I was successful because I rode a bit differently to other jockeys. I was able to relax a horse from the jump and then it knew what do.”

Bev has been recognised as a trailblazer outside racing where she dominated in a traditionally male dominated sport. At 14 she became an apprentice jockey for her racehorse trainer father. Women were not allowed to compete against male jockeys until the 1970s when the Lady Jockey’s Association lobbied for 15 races per year on country Victorian racetracks. By 1979 women were permitted to race as regular jockeys.

Buckingham and her friend Kim were among the first women to race Bev meets an old favourite Former jockey Beverley Buckingham is reunited with her 1996 Hobart Cupwinning horse Jam City. professionally against men in the 1980s. Ms Buckingham said some of the issues facing racing on King Island are the same as those in Tasmania and across Australia. “There are no young trainers coming through and a critical shortage of jockeys.”

Beverley, aged 17 became the first female to win a state jockeys premiership in the world. She went on to win three Senior Jockeys Premierships and in the 1994-95 season set a state record of 109 winners in a season. She won three Hobart Cups – in 1986, 1996 and 1998 – two Devonport Cups in 1985 and 1988 and the Launceston Cup in 1987. She won every major race in Tasmania and representing Australia in 1989, riding two winners in Japan. Beverley also rode five winners from seven races in 1986, four winners on five occasions and 41 trebles.

She won the Queens Cup in 1986. Queen Elizabeth wrote to her expressing her pleasure in being able to congratulate a woman jockey on winning her race. Beverley rode 906 winners from just over 6000 rides in her 18-year career. She was the first woman to ride in the Caulfield Cup, in 1987. She joined Max Baker as the only other jockey inducted into the Tasmanian Sporting Hall of Fame in 2005.

Bev was poised to become the first female jockey to ride 1000 winners in the Southern Hemisphere when her career was cut short in a race fall in 1998. She was wheelchair-bound, but regained her strength and mobility until she was able to walk again unaided.

%d bloggers like this: