Thursday, April 24, 2014
   
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Jockey's Strip For Fundraising Calendar

Matamata apprentice jockey Gemma Sliz has shed her Auckland Cup-winning silks for a racy new calendar.

Posing for the upcoming female jockeys' calendar, Racy Girls, Sliz drapes the colours she wore to victory aboard Upsetthym over her shoulder.

"They weren't draped over my back that day, that's for sure," Sliz said.

English-born Sliz, 23, is one of 12 women jockeys who agreed to pose for the calendar pictures, which will help raise funds for the Hunterville Trust for injured racing industry workers.

"It was a bit daunting. I've never had to do anything like that before," Sliz said.

"It was fun. It was something really different and it's good to see us in a different light because everyone always sees us in our riding gear.

"It's a good photo. I think I've got the most clothes on of anyone. It's tasteful and for a good cause."

The calendar features nine Waikato jockeys - Sliz, Michelle Hopkins, Kelly Davidson, Michelle Innes, Julia Ritchie, Lynsey Hofmann, Claire Anderson, Laura Cheshire and Rachel Mason - all in varying degrees of undress.

The other jockeys are Wanganui's Rochelle Lockett, and Auckland's Lee Rutherford and Sarah-Lee Kelly.

The calendar is the brainchild of Matamata woman Zea Marks.

Zimbabwean-born Marks immigrated to New Zealand two years ago. She was refused entry to the South African jockey school in the 1970s and 1980s on the basis of gender, but continued to ride trackwork.

She suffered a serious injury last August which has prevented her riding trackwork.

"I've been a long-time racing enthusiast and participant," she said.

"The struggle for women to become jockeys was a long haul and this is a great promotion for females in the industry.

"I'm extremely happy. When I first started with the idea, I never envisaged it would be so good. The girls were outstanding - they really put their hearts into it."

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