Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hayley's Star Turn at York

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hayley's Star Turn at York

Article excerpt

HAYLEY Turner reinforced her position as one of the leading riders in the land after Margot Did swooped to conquer in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes.

Not content at claiming an unprecedented outright first Group One victory for a British lady in the July Cup, the 28-year-old repeated the dose at York for her guv'nor Michael Bell.

It has, especially this season, become a rather trite cliche to label Turner as the top female jockey in the country when surely her prowess in the saddle must now deserve to rank alongside her male counterparts.

After all, the Nottinghamshireborn jockey could easily have succumbed to a fit of panic when Margot Did appeared to be travelling by the far the best in a six-horse group along the stands side.

Instead, Turner possessed the sangfroid judgment to bide her time until early inside the final furlong.

Then her willing companion skipped clear of Hamish McGonagall, who was also in the sextet close to the grandstand, by three-quarters of a length.

Turner said: "I am overwhelmed. I can't believe it, it is my best season ever. It just goes to show if you work hard and are dedicated it can be done."

Bell's unflinching bravery to run Margot Did at York was also highlighted by Turner as being the defining factor behind this highly decorated success.

Although, as a three-year-old, Margot Did was in receipt of weight from all but two of her rivals, no filly belonging to the Classic generation has won Britain's premier sprint since Habibti in 1983.

Ian Balding's Blue Siren was first past the post in 1994 but was placed second behind Piccolo.

Newmarket-based Bell must also have had plenty to consider after her recent hot streak was curtailed in Group Three company at Sandown last month, when she finished fourth from an admittedly uncompromising draw.

Fortune invariably favours the bold in racing, though, with Bell's decision to step up to the top table in open company even questioned by her rider.

Turner, who has ridden Margot Did in all 13 of her starts, continued: "I thought maybe a Group One would be stretching her ability-wise, but obviously not. …

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