CNN News:Racehorse Actinpieces refuses to be ridden by men

There may be horses for courses but it seems there are also horses just for women.

British-trained filly Actinpieces only wants to be powered by a girl and refuses to be ridden by a male jockey.

"She's not too keen on men," her trainer Pamela Sly explains to CNN. "I've never had a horse who's been like this before."

Actinpieces is exclusively ridden by Gina Andrews or, if she's not available, then her little sister Bridget climbs into the saddle. When 18-year-old Jack tried to step in for his sisters, it didn't end well.

"She tried to buck him off as soon as he got on," Sly reveals, followed by a devilish laugh.

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"When he went to get on her she tried to bite him," explains jockey Gina. "It's quite funny because she doesn't normally do it when I get on. She's only had women riders."

Jack shouldn't take it personally, Actinpieces is clearly a woman-only horse.

"If a man went up to her in the yard she'll put her ears back," she explains. "It's a bit weird.

"There is an old boy, Bryan Drabner, who grooms and looks after her every day. She's all right with him but I think she's confused because he's got long hair!

"I also had Speciosa, who won the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket, and she did not like people in her box at all whether it was male or female.

"She would turn her backside on you and have a go but that was how she was and we managed."

Cambridgeshire-based Sly did initially ask a male jockey to try out Actinpieces when she made her debut over hurdles last season.

"The boys didn't want to rider her," Sly explains. "They said she was lethal. She wasn't very easy to break in.

"Gina has been riding for me since she was 16 and I asked her if she wanted to ride her and she said 'course I will.'

Trainer Pam Sly (left) with Speciosa who she describes as another mare who "had a go"

"When Gina goes out to get on her she always puts out her hand to let her have a sniff before she gets on. She's fine."

Jockeys are riders for hire and many dash up and down the UK for as many as 10 rides a day.

This peripatetic lifestyle means it is hard to build relationships with horses -- let alone any humans -- but Andrews says Actinpiece's unique gender preference means they have built up an unusual rapport.

"I ride her at home and do some schooling with her as well as racing," the 24-year-old explains. "I've got to know her and it tends to work better.

"Different riders get on with some horses better than others but it depends on the way you ride and adapt to the horse.

"I enjoy riding her. I'm not a professional jockey so I don't ride that much. Pam has been very loyal to me and not taken me off her which she could quite easily have when she realized she was quite good."

Actinpieces was first past the post three times over the hurdles last season and is showing promise over jumps this winter.

"We really want to try and win a chase with her," says Sly who also owns the five-year-old. "She ran really well over fences at Wetherby but jumped the last, slipped and unshipped Gina."

Actinpieces, seen here on her way to victory at Wetherby, and amateur jockey Gina Andrews have developed a rapport

Actinpieces resumed her racing career at Wetherby on Wednesday.

And, beating the odds-on favorite ZeroShadesofGrey at the Yorkshire racecourse, Gina guided her singular steed across the line first to take the win.

"She won't be running in races like the Grand National or the Cheltenham Gold Cup but she's progressing," Andrews adds. "She's still one of the best I've ever ridden.

"She is temperamental. She only gives you one chance. You have to get it right the first time or that's it.

"You could say she's a bit of a woman -- she likes things her way!"

The feisty gray filly may be tricky to ride but she is also exacting and that just may be why a woman's touch works best.

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