North Notts born jockey, Hayley Turner, two months shy of her 41 birthday, has become the first British, female jockey, to reach the milestone of 1000 wins on the flat; another first in what has been a long and distinguished career on horseback.
Born within shouting distance of Nottingham Racecourse, in the early eighties, Ms. Turner, the daughter of Richard and Kate Turner, of whom Kate was a riding instructor, began racing at the turn of the millennium, her first official outing being aboard Markellis, at Southwell, on 27 March 2000, with her first success arriving less than three months later, riding Generate, at Pontefract, on 4 June, and she’s never looked back since.
Among the numerous successes Ms. Turner has achieved throughout her career, she became the first woman to win the Apprentice Jockey’s title (2005, shared with Saleem Golam), the first female to ride a winner in the Queen’s colours, and in 2008 saw her become the first female rider to win 100 races in a calendar year.
Success continued and in 2011 Turner became the first female to win Group 1 (July Cup) when riding Dream Ahead (trainer David Simcock), received an OBE in 2016, and in 2019 was the first female to win at Royal Ascot in 32 years.
Other successes have seen, despite a brief retirement in 2015 (returning the following year), Turner competing in a record sixteen, Shergar Cup races, and have an impressive four winners at Royal Ascot, whilst also riding for trainers of the ilk of Andrew Balding, David Simcock, Harry Eustace, and Michael Bell, to name a few.
Speaking to the Nottingham Sport following her recent achievement, that 1000 flat win, Ms. Turner said: “I’ve always been interested in riding horses, from a very young age, and I wanted to do something with horses after leaving school which is when I started in Doncaster.
“It was a big eye-opener for me, and there’s been lots of improvement and learning as you go along; but I’ve been doing this such a long time now.”
Although the current crop of female riders sees Turner joined by the likes of Hollie Doyle (first ever female European Classic winner, 2022), Ashely Wicheard, Rachael Blackmore and Bryony Frost, the Notts, rider now based in Newmarket (the headquarters of British horseracing), when she started out nearly 25 years ago, female jockeys were at a bare minimum.
“There was maybe a couple of female riders when I started out,” continued Ms. Turner.
“But nobody I really looked up to. The focus was on myself more than anything.
“What I’ve done in my career, what I’ve achieved, it has cleared a pathway for the girls that are riding now, and for those to come after.
“It is difficult though, for anyone, and the injuries I’ve sustained over the years have been frustrating more than anything.
“I moved south to Newmarket (the headquarters of British horseracing) early in my career, having started at Southwell.
“It’s been really good fun; the highlight though, it has to be winning the July Cup back in 2011, in the Group 1 races.
“I’ve not really had any goals during my career though, other than wanting to better myself each year.”
Earlier this week however, in Chelmsford, Ms. Turner achieved the incredible landmark of 1000 flat wins, aboard Tradesman (David Simcock), becoming the first British female jockey to reach that marker.
Matching that of male riders like Frankie Dettori, Ryan Moore and Silvestre de Sousa, it is another piece of history for both the jockey herself, and for women’s sport as a whole.
“The thousandth win, it has sure dragged itself out a bit,” added Ms. Turner.
“I’ve done quite a lot over the years though, winning on all of the courses, but I just look at taking each year as it comes.
“It has been an incredible journey to get to 1,000 winners. There have been lots of highs and a few lows, but I am thrilled to have reached the milestone.
“I can’t thank everyone enough who has helped me so far. The support I have had from all trainers, owners and my valet Guy Jewell has been fantastic.
“It’s amazing to see the progression of woman riders since I began, and I feel proud that I have been part of that turning point. Long may it continue!”
Instrumental in the early stages of Turner’s career, Michael Bell also commented on the recent success of the jockey, adding of the achievement: “Hayley so deserves to reach this landmark. She has had a wonderful career with so many highlights that are too many to mention.
“I think she has been the female rider that set the standard for others to aspire to and has made it so much easier for the new women riders to get their careers going and they all owe her a huge debt.
“We had some great successes together and I am delighted for her.”
Hayley Turner was speaking to the Nottingham Sport ahead of the Thursday night outings at Wolverhampton Racecourse, where the Notts-born jockey had three rides, aboard Moonfire (third in the 18:30, 6/5 F), Ancient Times (fourth in the 20:00, 6/1), and Sid’s Annie (fourth in the 20:30, 10/1).
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @HayleyTurner123 Hayley becomes the first British woman to reach 1,000 flat wins.