Nina Carberry was the winner of the Cheltenham Festival’s 2009 Award for ‘The Outstanding Contribution made by a Lady to Jump Racing’.
Born on 21 July, 1984, Nina Carberry has continued her family’s fine tradition of riding at the highest level. Her father Tommy won numerous big races as a jockey including two Cheltenham Gold Cups and a Grand National on L’Escargot and is now a successful trainer, saddling Bobbyjo to victory in the 1999 Grand National. Her brothers Paul and Philip are also very successful Jump jockeys.
With what seems a carbon copy of the impish grin, immense natural ability and the fierce determination of her brother Paul, Nina has had a rapid rise over the last five years from promising young amateur jockey in Ireland to being hailed as perhaps the best female rider in Jump racing’s history. In fact, despite his success, Paul is always quick to tell you that Nina is the most talented jockey in the family!
Their father Tommy is one of the giants of the Jumping game himself and there was certainly no prouder man than Carberry senior when Nina became the first lady to ride a winner at The Festival against the professional jockeys for 18 years, partnering Dabiroun to victory at 20/1 in the Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle in 2005.
She followed this with victory aboard well-backed favourite Heads Onthe Ground in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeplechase in 2007 and repeated the dose in the same race in 2008 on Garde Champetre.
Nina also became one of an elite band of just four female riders to complete the course in the history of the Grand National, finishing 9th behind Numbersixvalverde in the world’s most famous steeplechase in April 2006.
Still in her early 20’s, Nina Carberry seems sure to have many more big winners ahead of her and there is no doubt that she has put female Jump jockeys well and truly back on the map.
Commenting on the award, Nina said “I’m thrilled to win this award, especially as it comes at The Festival, which is the pinnacle of our sport. To be chosen ahead of the other nominees is a real honour.”
Andy Clifton, Cheltenham’s Communications Manager, said: “Nina is a thoroughly deserving winner of this award, which is now in its third year. She is talented, personable, hard working and a great ambassador both for Jump racing and for Ladies in sport. Nina also has a great record of success at The Festival itself, which is an added bonus.”
The panel of judges for this year’s award consisted of Clare Balding, Ann Saunders and Gee Bradburne.
This year’s final shortlist was completed by trainers Sally Alner, Henrietta Knight and Venetia Williams, former trainer Jenny Pitman and Carrie Humble, Founder and Director of the Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre.