Racing: Golam and Turner locked in duel for hand of history

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The Independent Online

Ironically, if she were to find the winner she needs to become the first champion apprentice of her sex, she would thwart a rider who represents - in this particular walk of sporting life - an even smaller minority. Saleem Golam is the first British Muslim to make even the mildest impact as a jockey. Today they travel to Yarmouth locked on 44 winners apiece. Tomorrow, the final day of the campaign, both ride at Southwell before hastening to Doncaster to settle the issue.

A fortnight ago Turner seemed in charge, but then Golam rode five winners in two days. Growing attention on their duel has reduced the pair to tense diffidence. A less inhibited assessment comes from the trainers who have supervised their emergence. Mark Tompkins and Michael Bell share pride in their protégés and confidence in their future.

In the words of Turner's employer, Bell: "It will be a good result whoever wins. He's a guy who wouldn't have had it easy early, and then had to come back from a bad injury. He has overcome - well, if not prejudice, certainly obstacles. And, of course, the same is true of Hayley. It would be nice if she could win it, as he has another chance next year."

Turner, 22, owes her ineligibility next year to the fact that she has ridden 95 winners - forfeiting the right to claim a weight allowance. She is the fourth British woman to do so, and will be anxious to avoid the plateau explored by Lisa Jones since she became the third.

"Hayley doesn't look out of place even against the top boys," Bell said. "There are now very few who might outgun her. That's a tribute to her fitness and technique."

Tompkins is no less complimentary about Golam, 21, who has defied graver odds than gender or origin by recovering from a terrible fall in 2004. He broke two vertebrae and was out for nine months. "He grew up a lot in that time," Tompkins said. "It concentrated his mind. He has great resolve. He won't be a flash in the pan."

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