Eclipse Award Nominee Jessica Pyfer
Set For Saudi
Pyfer and Argentina’s Andrea Marinhas latest female riders confirmed for stc International Jockeys Challenge
Jessica Pyfer rode 59 winner in 2021 and is set to compete outside the USA for the first time - Credit: Focus On Racing
Jessica Pyfer, a rising star of the weighing room in America, has been confirmed to ride in the stc International Jockeys Challenge.
The event will be held the day before the $20 million Saudi Cup at King Abdulaziz Racetrack on February 25, and sponsored for a third year by platinum partner, stc, the digital enabler in the telecommunication industry in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which continues in its aim of supporting the field of sports in KSA.
Pyfer (23), who only began riding in September 2020, notched an impressive 59 winners from 557 rides in her second full season as a jockey in 2021, amassing prize money of $2.8 million.
Her achievements in such a short time have seen her nominated for an Eclipse Award, which recognises the achievements of a wide range of horses and participants from across the American thoroughbred industry.
After being confirmed for the IJC, Pyfer said: “I am super excited! It feels like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I’ve only been race-riding for about a year-and-a-half and have never competed outside of the US, so for an opportunity like this to come along is pretty cool.
“I’ve spoken to Mike Smith, who I know has ridden in Saudi a lot, and he just told me that I’ll have the time of my life, so I couldn’t be more excited.
“My season has been amazing so far and I couldn’t have ever imagined that I’d be where I am now, with both an invite to the International Jockeys Challenge at The Saudi Cup and a nomination for an Eclipse Award.
“It will be amazing to line up against so many great jockeys, and a pleasure to ride alongside some of the world’s best female jockeys who I’ve always looked up to.”
Joining the up-and-coming US star is Argentine rider Andrea Marinhas, who began her career in the US and is now based between the States and her native Argentina.
Marinhas (40) currently has 94 career wins to her name, with 15 of those coming this season, 11 in Argentina and four in the US.
Marinhas said: “I’m so pleased to have been invited. The first thing that came to my mind was I could be riding with many of my favourite jockeys! It will be a beautiful experience!
“My season has been great. I lead the national and La Plata racecourse female jockeys’ statistics with 18 winners and an 18% strike-rate, so it’s great to get some international recognition. The opportunity to compete against some of the world’s best in Saudi is massive for me.”
Pyfer and Marinhas are the second and third female jockeys confirmed to ride in the International Jockeys Challenge, after the UK’s Hayley Turner, and will be joined by a further four female riders.
Seven male jockeys – five international and two home-based riders – will make up the 14 strong IJC field, with last year’s winner Shane Foley and Australia’s Glen Boss already confirmed.
The stc International Jockeys Challenge features four $400,000 handicaps, with a further $100,000 for the challenge itself and riders receiving 15 percent of prize money won.
Source: The Saudi Cup
About The Saudi Cup
||Organised by the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia and run at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, The Saudi Cup is a two-day festival of international racing headlined by the USD$20m Saudi Cup – the world’s most valuable race.
Established in 2020 with the third renewal set to be run on Saturday February 26, 2022, The Saudi Cup day card carries a total prize purse of $30.5m and features dirt and turf races for the highest calibre of racehorses in the world.
A full card of racing on the preceding Friday includes an International Jockeys Challenge which sees seven female and seven male jockeys compete as individuals as well as the $500,000 Saudi International Handicap for horses trained in IFHA-registered Part II and III racing countries.
The Saudi Cup is charged with raising awareness of horse racing in the country, encouraging participation among men and women. It also aims to promote Saudi Arabia at international level, acting as a marker for the Kingdom’s transformational journey, encouraging tourism and investment.
Source: The Saudi Cup/Media