Hayley to concentrate on TV punditry after finishing last in Sweden

Hayley Turner

Hayley Turner

 PICTURE:Getty Images 

 By Graham Dench 1:16PM 5 JUL 2017 

Hayley Turner has no immediate plans to return to regular race-riding despite an easy win on Flying Sparkle for her old boss Michael Bell at Windsor on Monday.

She was brought down to earth by finishing last in a competition for leading female riders from around the world at Bro Park, north of Stockholm, the following evening and intends concentrating on her roles with ITV and At The Races for the time being.

Turner said on Wednesday: “Bro Park was a great occasion, and if it was like that and Windsor all of the time it would be different, but I know it’s not and I have to be realistic. Having come back on a winner at Windsor on Monday, Bro Park was a reality check. It keeps you grounded.

“I’m just going with it, and I’m lucky to be doing a bit of everything. I’m enjoying my roles with ITV and ATR and all of the other things I’m involved in.”

Turner was joined by Sammy Jo Bell, representing Northern Ireland, and Ana O’Brien, for Ireland, in a five-race competition which ended with French rider Maryline Eon crowned winner of the inaugural Lady Jockeys’ Thoroughbred World Championships.

Bell’s second in the first event was as good as it got for the three riders from Britain and Ireland, but Turner thoroughly enjoyed herself.

‘I didn’t even get close’

She continued: “It was so nice with all of the girls from around the world. I don’t think I’ve ever done it before. Everyone was really relaxed and I enjoyed it.

“Myself and Ana O’Brien had a little race towards the end of the card trying to avoid being last, and I’m afraid I lost. And I really tried – I made the running and stacked them up but it was no good. I didn’t even get close on any of my rides.”

Turner added: “It’s a beautiful track to ride, with lovely big wide bends and long straights, and the horses are all handicappers, a lot of them having come from the UK. 

“I rode a couple who I felt really needed lifting – just making their minds up – but you’re allowed to hit a horse only three times, and down the neck counts as well. The rules are so strict I think one of our top jockeys didn’t even take his stick out with him when he rode there last year because he didn’t want to risk a ban.”

Asked if she would return next year if invited, Turner was unsure and replied: “Bro Park’s great but it’s only once a year and a lot can change, so I don’t know. I didn’t even plan this trip until a month or so ago.”

In the meantime she will continue riding out, and on Friday has a ride at Goodwood – albeit an uncompetitive one.

Turner, who will be on ITV’s Opening Show from Sandown on Saturday, explained: “I’m galloping around Goodwood wearing a headcam for Matchbook, who are their festival’s official betting partner and for whom I’m an ambassador. I’m demonstrating what a difficult track it is to ride.”

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