Turner total 'breaks the barriers'
Thursday 01 January 2009
After the euphoria of the night before, it was just a routine day at the office for Hayley Turner at Lingfield yesterday: three rides, three losers on one of the all-weather tracks that provide low-grade competition and betting fodder through the winter. And really, she would not have had it any other way. Her commendable feat of riding her 100th winner of 2008 at Wolverhampton on Tuesday would have passed almost without comment but for her being this country's first female rider to reach that particular annual milestone.
And though rightly pleased with her century, the modest 25-year-old from Newmarket remained slightly bemused, almost embarrassed, by the fuss since Mullitovermaurice's historic success, which included a burst of applause from the Lingfield racegoers as she walked into the paddock before her first race yesterday.
Turner, who regards herself professionally as a jockey first and a woman second, is as aware as anyone that she was the last of 11 members of the weighing room to reach the 100 last year. Ryan Moore, Jamie Spencer, Neil Callan, Chris Catlin, Richard Hughes, Jim Crowley, George Baker, Seb Sanders, Dane O'Neill and Tom Queally all got there before her, without anything like the fanfare.
"We all work hard," she said. "You have to work for anything you achieve, male or female. But of course I'm thrilled I managed to do it. I'm just very lucky to have a job I love so much, and I hope I can just keep on doing what I'm doing. And get better at it, which will come with experience and listening to people who are better than me."
Turner has not yet reached the point where any future landmarks – a Group or Royal Ascot winner, say – will pass without comment. Despite her being a thoroughly competent young jockey, regardless of gender, and the facts that Cathy Gannon won at Lingfield yesterday and Nina Carberry took the last race of the year at Punchestown, females remain in a minority in the saddle.
But what was a disadvantage at the start of her career has been nullified by her own talent and determination. "It was difficult at first," she said, "and not helped by me being rubbish. It has all taken time, snowballing only gradually. But I'm delighted that I can now celebrate what some might have thought the impossible only a few years ago."
Turner is quick to thank her back-up team, notably trainer Michael Bell, with whom she served her apprenticeship and an integral part of whose Newmarket stable she still is, and her agent Guy Jewell.
With Bell's support, she shared the 2005 apprentice championship with Saleem Golam. "It's quite hard to say anything bad about her," said Bell yesterday, "she's reliable, dedicated and talented, a combination that will, given ordinary luck, make for success.
"It was hard to persuade owners at first but then she started winning. She rose to every challenge and didn't disappoint people. Racing is the most un-PC place there is, but any innuendo was water off a duck's back for her. She has always had tunnel vision about her career and copes with any situation."
Only three jockeys – Catlin, Crowley and Moore – rode more than Turner's total of 989 mounts last year. "Her work ethic is extraordinary," said Jewell, who also has two of the other centurions, Crowley and Baker, on his books. "She will go anywhere just for one ride without grumbling. And she has overcome sexual prejudice, which I think is as big an achievement as the century."
Turner, 26 on Saturday, is happy enough to have been adopted by Epsom as the face for this year's Derby, but is happiest of all when people do not notice she is a woman among men in a race. "She has broken the barriers," added Bell, "and that is not to be underestimated. People use her because she is a good jockey full point, not a good jockey for a girl."
* All four of today's domestic jump fixtures are subject to morning inspections, with some optimism last night at Cheltenham (8am inspection), where the course has been under cover since Sunday. Saturday's feature card at Sandown, where the situation will be assessed at noon today, is in doubt if the severe overnight frosts continue.
Latest in Sport
Newcastle 0 Manchester United 1: Louis van Gaal describes performance as 'maybe our best match of the season'
Cristiano Ronaldo: Real Madrid superstar 'sends his hair stylist to look after his waxwork once a month'
Six things we learnt: Louis van Gaal is watching a different Manchester United; Henderson becoming the genuine heir to Gerrard
Terminally-ill Club Brugge fan Lorenzo Schoonbaert delays euthanasia appointment to see his beloved football club 'win one last time'
Arsenal's Gabriel suffers 36th-minute hamstring injury and is subbed off...Twitter reacts
- 1 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 2 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 3 The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
- 5 Why you're almost certainly more like your father than your mother
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...
£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...
£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...
£32000 per annum + pension, healthcare & 23 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A gro...