Against the backdrop of Sussex’s rolling green countryside in south east England, 11 women prepare to take on the challenge of becoming jockeys for a day at a quintessentially English race meeting.
Not long ago, if you had asked former Burberry model and British Vogue cover star Rosie Tapner if she could ever have imagined herself in the saddle of a thoroughbred race horse, the answer would have been a resounding “no.”
But she’ll be racing in the annual Magnolia Cup, part of the Qatar Goodwood Festival — a five-day racing spectacle (affectionately known as “Glorious Goodwood” by those who attend), once famously described by King Edward VII as “a garden party with racing tacked on.”
For four months now, Tapner’s alarm has gone off most mornings at 4:30am, cramming in personal training and horse riding lessons to learn how to become a fully-fledged jockey in time for the race, which takes place Thursday.
“I don’t think I had any idea just how fit these jockeys are,” the model told CNN Sport. “It really shocked me how strong you have to be.”
While Tapner is an experienced rider, she admits that it’s completely different when you’re in the saddle as a jockey.
“My first day at the yard was terrifying,” she explains. “I have ridden all my life but I’ve had to relearn how to ride completely.
A racehorse is like a Ferrari — but with no brake
Rosie Tapner, model
What makes a racehorse so different to one that she might ride at home? Well, they’re just like cars, Tapner explains.
“My horse is more like a mini and a racehorse is like a Ferrari — but with no brake. They are a different machine totally but I have learned to just completely love it and I got home the other day and I rode my horse and I just thought ‘oh… I kind of want a race horse,'” she laughs.