Women prominent in racing

Women prominent in racingGai Waterhouse and Katie Page have launched a $500,000 incentive aimed at attracting women to racehorse ownership.

Page, the managing director of Harvey Norman and a co-owner of the Magic Millions sales company with her husband Gerry Harvey, and trainer Waterhouse addressed a morning tea on the Gold Coast on Sunday.

The initiative is also aimed at driving interest about employment opportunities and raising awareness about women’s involvement in the racing industry.

Page said she believed more women needed to be involved.

“Women still earn 17 per cent less than men in Australia for the same job,” Page said.

“We have a long way to go and I hope the half-million helps.

“I promise you that participation of women in racing will be different from today. This is an exciting sport and it should be 50 per cent women and 50 per cent men.

“Nothing under that is acceptable.”

The Magic Millions Racing Women scheme was announced in November by Page and Harvey who was his usual irreverent self.

“When Katie first told me about the half-million prize pool, I told her it was like plundering the store room and giving it to a bunch of skirts, but I know it will mean real growth for the industry in the end,” he said.

Waterhouse, seven times Sydney’s premier trainer and the winner of more than 100 Group One races, supports the cause.

“This concept has opened the door for all women and your friends to get involved with myself and the others, but make sure you have a lady trainer please!,” she said.

The 2013 Magic Millions 2YO Classic will have an incentive bonus of $500,000 to be distributed between the top four all-female owned or leased horses, in finishing order.

The race is open to graduates of Magic Millions sales which begin on the Gold Coast this week.

The flagship raceday is on Saturday with the two-year-old race carrying prizemoney of $2 million.

Harvey split with his Magic Millions partners John Singleton and Rob Ferguson last year and the company is now wholly owned by the Harvey family.

Former Sydney trainer Helen Page who now prepares her horses at the Gold Coast, said the incentive was timely.

“Something that Queensland really needs is this boost from Gerry and Katie with the extra money and the extra incentive because Queensland is a little stagnant at the moment,” she said.

“We need a lift right now.”