FORMER top Warrnambool jockey Nikita McLean has been invited to ride against the best women jockeys in the world in Dubai on January 17.
McLean, who sprung to prominence in 2007 when she won the group 1 Emirates Stakes on the Orford-trained Tears I Cry, said she was over the moon after being notified that she was the only Australian jockey to ride in the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship (IFAHR) series.
"I got the shock of my life when I got the phone call to ask if I wanted to ride in the series," she said. "I'll be riding in two races on the first night. One will be on a thoroughbred, the other will be on an Arabian-bred horse.
"It's a great opportunity to ride on the world stage. There are 12 other countries that have nominated female jockeys to ride in the series."
Talented Australian female jockey Linda Meech rode in the inaugural series last year and has given McLean some insights into the first night's racing at Oman.
"Linda has told me it's a pretty hectic six-to-seven days," she said. " I'll be riding against the best female jockeys in the world."
McLean said she hoped to be back to ride Magapal for Terry O'Sullivan at Flemington on January 19. France, Germany, Great Britain, Switzerland, Ireland, Spain and Sweden are among the countries to nominate jockeys for the 12-race series. The final will be run at Abu Dhabi in November.
McLean, who has ridden more than 500 winners , moved to Ballarat in September, where she is stable jockey for her former master Jim Mason.