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Horse Racing Next Gen: Jockey Sammy Jo Bell

(CNN) —She's got a winning smile and is hotly tipped to hold the whip hand over her male colleagues in the not too distant future.  Jockey Sammy Jo Bell may only be 5 feet tall but her stature in the world of horse racing is growing by the race. The 24-year-old apprentice from County Antrim, Northern Ireland, has been putting male riders in the shade this summer racking up an impressive 23 winners to date.

Bell's form has made her the leading female in the UK Apprentice Jockey Championship, amassing more than £230,000 ($355,000) in prize money, earning a sizable chunk of those winnings in June as she claimed nine wins in 22 starts -- an impressive strike rate of 40%.

The feat saw her nominated for a prestigious Jockey of the Month award alongside two of the sport's most illustrious names, Ryan Moore and Frankie Dettori.

That particular turf battle was won by the Italian legend -- Dettori being rewarded for a string of high-profile wins, notably riding Golden Horn to victory at the Epsom Derby.

But for Bell the nomination was a small victory in itself, helping promote the idea of women jockeys being equals to men.

"I think if you're good enough to get rides you'll get them, whether you're a boy or a girl," Bell told CNN's Winning Post.

"I don't think it makes much difference at the minute. We're on level terms. You put your head down and you get on with it."

Currently learning her trade under the guidance of renowned trainer, Richard Fahey at his Musley Bank Stables in North Yorkshire, Bell is unfazed by the early mornings and the social and financial sacrifices she is making now.

"On a normal day we come in at seven o'clock and we tack up straight away. We ride about four lots before breakfast, then afterwards we ride about three or four after that," she explains.

After lunch it's back to the yard to brush, feed and water the horses before clocking off around six o'clock.

"It's like anything in life, you have to work hard to get the results and you have to keep it going for a period of time -- nothing happens overnight -- and eventually you get some rewards out of it."

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