Turner back after tests of fitness and stamina


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Her return in its final, dark days serves as a timely reminder that few shone more brightly on the British Turf in 2011 than Hayley Turner. The first female rider to win a Group One prize outright when taking the July Cup on Dream Ahead, she won a second on Margot Did in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York – the very race in which Alex Greaves had made that initial breakthrough for their sex, by sharing a dead-heat in 1997. But Turner was brought down to earth within 10 days, breaking an ankle in a fall at Bath.

She has maintained a place in the limelight during her absence, for instance when named Most Inspirational Sportswoman at the Jaguar Sports Academy Awards. But even the relative obscurity of Kempton today will delight her every bit as much, as she takes her first three mounts since her accident. Turner completed her recuperation with a five-day trip to New York and Atlantic City. She complained that there was no gym near her hotel, and resorted to running up and down its stairs. "I also find shopping is a great way to keep fit," she said. "Macy's is a real test of stamina!" Departing from those wilful stereotypes, her next ambition is to win a Classic – albeit she is setting no specific targets for 2012. "All I can do is work hard," she said. "And then what will be, will be."

Plenty of ups and downs no doubt await Brendan Powell Jnr in his own riding career, but he is plainly well equipped to follow in the footsteps of his Grand National-winning father. The teenager rode his first treble at Plumpton yesterday – two winners for his boss, Colin Tizzard, and another for Powell Snr, nowadays a trainer.

However far their names may some day be recognised beyond their own sport, Turner or Powell can hardly hope to match the reach of Wayne Rooney. It is quite a coup for Tom Dascombe, then, that the England striker has decided to invest in his first racehorse. Rooney recently visited Manor House Stables in Cheshire, where Dascombe's landlord is Rooney's Manchester United team-mate Michael Owen, and was so impressed that he agreed to buy a yearling. Last summer Dascombe saddled Brown Panther to win in Owen's colours at Royal Ascot, and the colt also finished second in the St Leger.

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Vosges (1.20 Musselburgh)

Already a dual course winner over hurdles, and just unable to wear down a runaway leader in Carrietau when fast-tracked to a handicap on his latest visit over fences. Return to this longer distance and novice company both likely to suit.

Next best

Simply Ned (2.20 Musselburgh)

Has looked a useful operator in the making in all three starts and handicapper has given him every opportunity to improve past his initial rating.


One to watch

Whistling Senator (Jonjo O'Neill) looks a typical slow-burner for his connections, showing his first signs of ability in qualifying for handicaps at Bangor last week.


Where the money's going

Galaxy Rock is 10-1 from 12-1 with the sponsors for the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow next week.