wir 4 years

Meet the Committee

April 10, 2024 | WiR Features

Find out more about the WiR committee – the voluntary team who runs programmes and events designed to support women working across British horseracing.

Emma Sayer – Deputy Chair and Bursary since 2023

Alongside my voluntary role for WiR committee I work full time for the Scottish Racing academy and I am assistant trainer to my mother Dianne. Life is never dull or quiet! I have race ridden in 10 different countries across the globe and have worked in racing in another 3 countries. I loved the new experience, the variety of training methods and mostly the opportunity to travel that racing has provided and would encourage anyone to do the same.

What do you do for WiR: I have been fortunate to work on the Bursary, something I am a huge supporter of. I love that the WiR community can offer financial support to those in need in any area of personal development, growth and to develop new skills. It is a great initiative and one I would encourage any WiR member to apply for.

In order to apply for a bursary, you must be a member of WiR. You apply via the website and will be invited for interview with a number of committee members before your application is considered. Applications open in April of every year and close in August. If you have any questions regarding the bursary programme please do not hesitate to get in touch.

What are you working on at the moment? I am currently in communication with the two successful bursary applicants from 2023 to see how they are benefiting from the initiative. See below a response we have just received:

1. How did you first hear about the WiR bursary programme and what made you apply? I have been a member of WiR for a long time and followed all the great initiatives that they have going on, I have been supported through the mentoring programme in the past and everyone is so supportive. When I started looking for some additional support towards my training, another member suggested I make the application.

2. Can you explain what the application process consisted of and your personal experience throughout? The application process was straightforward. I was then invited to interview, which was a great focus for me, as this made me zone in on what I wanted to achieve and what I in return can offer back to the racing and in particular the women’s racing community.

3. What impact do you feel the bursary has had on your personal circumstance and would you encourage others to apply. The bursary has helped me to focus on my study and I really would encourage others to make the leap and see what WiR can help you to achieve.


Cheryl Caves – Mentoring Lead since 2023

What do you do for WiR: I have just taken on the WiR Mentoring Programme so am in the process of familiarising myself with it and getting it ready for a relaunch.

The WiR Mentoring Programme has been running for over 10 years and has been a great success. It works by partnering WiR members with other women in the racing industry who can offer them advice and help in anything from personal development to skills training and career progression.

I am currently working to contact all existing mentees and mentors to see how they think we can improve what we currently offer. I’m also hoping to expand the number of mentors we have available to our members – volunteers are always welcome! You can have a look at our latest Mentors and apply to join the programme on this webpage.

Tell us a little-known fact about yourself! Pre-children I used to teach a Salsa dance class in and around Newmarket. I also took Ballroom and Latin lessons as an adult learner, though it’s been a good few years since I last took to the dance floor!


Sally Lyons – Treasurer since 2022

What do you do for WiR: I am the gatekeeper to all the financials for WiR and Racing Home and I have also been involved with the Bursary process which is a hugely rewarding part of being involved with WiR: offering our members support towards their career development. Most recently I am a Lead on the Racing Home Project – Racing Home is a monumental project seeking to support working parents, women and individuals contemplating starting a family who work in the horseracing industry. Watch the latest video about the programme here.

Describe something you have been working on: Racing Home also runs a “Post-Pregnancy Rehabilitation and Support Programme – provides guidance to mothers returning to riding work post pregnancy and opportunity to work with “Specialist Rehabilitation Physiotherapists”. Each individual programme includes 6 sessions with your physio providing a tailored fitness plan, strength and conditioning support and gym work instruction. For more information, please contact dana@simplyracing.uk.


Grace Carter – Social Media Lead since 2023

I work for Ian Williams Racing, sit on the Diversity in Racing Steering Group and have recently completed the Racing Media Academy class of 2024.

What do you do for WiR: I manage the WiR social media accounts – posting updates on our events, latest news, and celebrations for the achievements of women within racing. Our social media platforms are an easy way of finding out information about us such as member benefits, when applications for the bursary open and the mentoring programme, as well as keeping up to date with our events. It is also a nice way to see other women’s achievements in racing and to know you have access to a support system.


Steph Swanney – Bursary Lead since 2024

I fell in love with horseracing when I attended an open day at the Northern Horseracing College, where I enrolled and graduated at 17. I worked for several racing yards before taking time away from racing, gaining experience in a different industry whilst completing a BSc degree. Horseracing is my passion and I soon gravitated back to the industry, this time
working for the BHA and completing the Thoroughbred Horseracing Industries MBA. My current role is a Project Manager, with a focus on equine and human welfare.


Blaithin Murphy – Membership Lead since 2022

Blaithin has previously held hands-on roles in thoroughbred studs and training yards whilst completing her degree in Equine Science and a masters in Business Management. Blaithin works at The Jockey Club and has graduated the trainee General Manager programme, recently being appointed General Manager of Wincanton Racecourse. Blaithin has been involved in equestrian sports all her life, but horse racing has always been at the forefront.

Share a little-known fact about yourself! I am frightened of going down escalators – no problem going up though!


Kim Leet – Secretary since 2023

I am the secretary to the Committee at Women in Racing and have worked as a Racing Secretary to several racehorse trainers in Newmarket, as well as for a stud and owners, so I have a wealth of experience within horse racing.

I do the admin for the committee which means helping to organise the monthly meetings and following up with action points as well as any other ad hoc requirements. Having worked in the industry for several years, I have a good understanding of the
industry and I’m keen to raise the profile of brilliant women in the sport and build upon the existing network. I work away in the background to make the WiR committee even more organised.


Lucy Ralph – Policy and Process Improvement since 2024

I worked as a groom before starting an office-based role for the British Horseracing Authority, who supported me through an MBA. Since then I have led projects and teams in the regulatory, charitable and commercial sectors, focusing on process improvement using technology and data. I’m currently the Governance and Integrity Manager for the British Equestrian Federation. I’m interested in anything to do with the countryside, the impact of sport on wellbeing, and animal welfare. I continue to ride when she can, and I’m especially keen on retraining racehorses for new jobs.

I use my governance experience to support WiR to continuously improve and develop to ensure it continues to be efficient and forward-thinking.


Lucy Gurney – Chair since 2021

What do you do for WiR: I ran the mentoring programme when I joined in 2020 and once Tallulah Lewis completed her term as Chair I took on the role. This can mean anything from tech improvements, website and social media to hosting events, developing the mentoring and bursary, working on strategy, recruiting new committee members, funding and sponsorship – you name it! It’s a varied role but so rewarding when we bring together the WiR network to make change, host events and support career development. Take a look around the website if you want to see case studies or previous event info.

Thank you’s and a note to WiR members: We are fortunate to have a brilliant committee driving the network forward and some exciting events lined up. The fast-evolving Racing Home programme is designed to support working parents to thrive and remain in the industry and details can be found here (racinghome.org.uk). The Simply Racing team deliver this with thanks to funding from the Racing Foundation and Kindred Group (Unibet). You can speak to our team at events or email us to discuss any part of Women in Racing – the bursary, mentoring, Racing Home, and how you can get involved. WiR has lots to look forward to!

We look forward to meeting you at upcoming events – don’t hesitate to get in touch directly in the meantime. You can find out more about the bursary here, or the mentoring programme or Racing Home.