Vanessa Ryall, riding a horse named High As A Kite, was riding high herself over the weekend when she became the first female to win the Norwegian Derby at Øvrevoll in Bærum. Ryall was one millimeter ahead of her closest competitor, and also became the first female Derby winner in the world.
“This feels unreal,” Ryall, a Norwegian-American who’s been living in Florida for the past six years, told newspaper Aftenposten. It was a classic photo finish, as Ryall also became the first jockey with a Norwegian passport to win a Derby race at Øvrevoll in the past 49 years.
Around 7,800 spectators turned out for the Derby on a brilliantly sunny Saturday. Ryall has plans to move home to Norway, “but not today,” she said. She’ll now head back to Florida where she can train year-round and where she’s learned to be a jockey, reported Aftenposten, with support from her step-father Jan Bjørdal, who owns High As A Kite and also breeds horses in France.