Jockey calendar a change in tack but still racy

BARRY LICHTER
Last updated 05:00 06/07/2014
Tayla Wenn
MISS SEPTEMBER: Jockey Tayla Wenn wowed publisher Zea Marks.

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When jockey Tayla Wenn walked in to do her picture shoot for the new Racy Girls calendar, publisher Zea Marks instantly knew she was on to a winner.

It had been 10 years since Marks created a world first, producing a calendar of New Zealand's female jockeys in various stages of undress - with modestly placed saddles to keep it seemly.

But if Marks thought the 2014 edition was in danger of losing any appeal with the girls decked out in specially-designed raceday outfits, Wenn put that to bed.

"I'd seen her riding on TV before but never in person and I took one look at her and thought wow," Marks said. "She could have been a model. She was so stunningly beautiful and vibrant that we hardly needed any makeup."

Marks believes Wenn's picture wouldn't be out of place on the front cover of Vogue magazine.

Wenn, 19, will appear as Miss September in the soon-to-be-released calendar which is sure to get the male apprentices queuing up.

But the relative rookie, with just five career wins to her credit, will have plenty of competition from Danielle Johnson, 23, who last Wednesday rode five winners in just one day at Avondale to take her season tally to 90 and career total to 379.

If that feat didn't make Johnson the new punters' pin-up, as Miss July she will surely grace the bedroom walls of fans nationwide, her seductive pose usually reserved only for her partner, leading rider Opie Bosson.

But while competition for the front cover of the calendar might not have been as hot as for Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit issue, Samantha Collett gets that honour.

Her raceday arrival shot, toting her gear suitcase, captures the colour and glamour of the races that Marks was keen to convey.

Collett, 24, who has ridden 295 winners and is enjoying one of her best seasons with 46 scalps, epitomises the "alluring" look Marks has tried to achieve this time.

In her Miss April spread inside, Collett shows more flesh than the famous blue and white colours of Pencarrow Stud, curled up in an antique chair.

Marks believes racing fans will relish the chance to see more of the sensual side of our female riders, usually hidden behind boots, breaches, helmets and goggles.

The prone pose of Bridget Grylls, 21, who as Miss August is lying clad in a pink frock, exposes more leg than any racegoer has ever seen during her 67 career wins.

"In the first calendar the poses were a lot more suggestive but this year I've gone for the glamorous, feminine look," says Marks.

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It is an image more in keeping with the late Lisa Chittick, to whom the calendar has been dedicated, says Marks. Chittick was renowned for her stylish raceday outfits.

Each of the 12 jockeys appears in outfits made by Cambridge designer and milliner Robyn Brooks, whose Ooby Ryn range has featured in many of the fashion in the fields winners in recent years.

Each outfit features the individual colours of the trainer or stud which has sponsored the calendar, Marks providing the fabric and Brooks donating her time. The garments will be modelled by the jockeys and then auctioned at the calendar launch on August 3, at Cambridge's ClubHouse Sports Bar and Cafe.

All proceeds from the launch, door entry and auction will go to Leukaemia and Blood Cancer NZ, which will also benefit from sales of the $30 calendar.

It's a cause that Waikato Stud's Mark Chittick had no trouble supporting. Leukaemia claimed his wife in May after a near 17-month battle.

Chittick has donated a Waikato Stud experience to the auction, treating four people to a grand tour of the stud Lisa helped build into one of the country's finest.

WIN A FREE CALENDAR

The Sunday Star-Times has five copies of the Racy Girls calendar to give away. To be in the draw to win your calendar, just write the answer to the question below on the back of an envelope and mail to: RACY GIRLS GIVEAWAY, PO Box 1327, Auckland. How many winners did Danielle Johnson ride at Avondale last Wednesday? 

- Sunday Star Times

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