Shock as Britain’s leading female rider Turner calls it quits

Hayley Turner - Jockey

Hayley Turner: Group 1-winning rider will retire at end of season

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

HAYLEY TURNER, the most successful female jockey in British racing history, is to quit the saddle.

Turner, 32, is understood to have taken the shock decision to retire at the end of the season having grown frustrated at the lack of opportunities to ride at the top level and a decline in rides during the week.She is likely to try to develop a career in the media while also exploring a profile outside of horseracing.

Despite riding two Group 1 winners in the summer of 2011, when she became the first British woman to secure a top-level victory outright with her July Cup triumph aboard Dream Ahead, and a Grade 1 victory in the Beverly D Stakes the following year, there have been few other comparable highlights.

This season Turner, who rode 100 winners in 2008 and reached 92 three seasons ago, has partnered 39 winners, but her best moments have been as a member of the first Girls team to claim the Shergar Cup and in Japan at the weekend, where she rode the winner of the final leg of the World All-Star Jockeys contest.

A graduate of the Northern Racing College whose first winner came in 2000, Turner made her breakthrough when she became apprenticed to Michael Bell in Newmarket.

During a 13-year association with the Bell stable she became the first woman to claim the apprentice title, an accolade she shared in 2005 with Saleem Golam, the duo tying on 44 winners.

She was only the fourth woman to ride out her claim and also won a ‘Lester’ for apprentice of the year, the first of her sex to win the trophy.

During her most prolific campaign in 2008 she rode exactly 100 winners from 998 rides, but then spent a year out after suffering a head injury in March 2009.

By 2011 she was being hailed as a sporting role model when she bettered Alex Greaves’s achievement in dead-heating for the 1997 Nunthorpe by winning the July Cup. The following month she took the Nunthorpe as well on the Bell-trained Margot Did.

In August the following year Turner made her mark on the international stage when she rode I’m A Dreamer to victory at Arlington, but her momentum was checked in 2013, when she split from Bell and suffered two spells of injury.Last year’s tally of 40 wins featured Listed victories on Be My Gal and Ribbons, but was her lowest score since 2006.

 

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