Amateur jockey, Delphine Garcia-Dubois, recent winner of the HH Sheikha Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship (IFAHR) was born and raised in Paris, France. Her family was not an equestrian family, but she was early interested in horses.
“I started with show jumpers, like most of the amateur jockeys in France,” she said after her race win in Abu Dhabi. “When I turned 18 I discovered the horse racing world. We have a lot of amateur races in France. I applied and got my license, and started racing, first over jumps.”
Dubois now lives in Maisons-Laffitte, known also as cité du cheval, site of a large race course and horse training area in the Northwestern suburbs of Paris. Her day job is working as an equestrian insurance agent for the firm, Gras Savoye, with many clients world-wide and offices in the Middle East.
Her trip to win the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Championship began when she won the Stockholm 2012 Taby Galopp in July on Serouda Du Breuil, qualifying her for the final round and Championship on November 11 in Abu Dhabi.
It was good luck when she drew for her ride the Burning Sand colt, AF Sanadek, trained by Eric Lemartinel. Dubois had known Lemartinel for years, but had not raced for him in the past. To prepare her for how the horse would go, Lemartinel gave her a DVD of the last three races and told her what to expect.
“The horse is only four and not very experienced,“ she said. “You can feel it in his mind like a young boy. His last race was in March, and he was a bit different then, but now he easily followed the pace without any pushing at the end.”
For her winning ride, Dubois came out of gate 7 and positioned herself in 5th and 4th on the outside at the start of the race. “I was happy not to be locked on the inside,” she said. “Sometimes you can be better to be safer on the outside so you are not stopped or pushed by someone.”
She was thrilled with her win and said,“I have never ridden such a beautiful horse.”
Besides going riding every morning before going to the office, she also runs to stay fit. “Being a girl you must be very fit and strong,” she said.
Dubois has been racing for 12 years with a dramatic stop for three years after an auto accident, when Doctors said she would never ride again. She is happy to have made them wrong. Picking up riding again in 2008, her ride record now is: 230 rides and 22 wins, mostly on Thoroughbreds. Until her recent win, she had only ridden six or seven Arabians in races.