Press Release 21 November 2012

Britain’s best lady jockey steps in for Sir Henry Cecil

Hayley TurnerBritain’s most successful female flat jockey Hayley Turner stepped in to give a fresh and entertaining talk about rising to the top in the male dominated horse racing world when Sir Henry Cecil’s on-going battle with cancer unfortunately prevented his attendance at the IoD Suffolk breakfast. The event on 21st November was held at the West Wing at Ickworth House Hotel.

In a speech which understated her determination and competitive spirit, Hayley said she always took tiny steps towards her goals and never set unrealistic targets. She said: “If you think you’ve arrived then you’re never going to do any better.”

She wasn’t from a horse racing background and ‘never had a leg up from anyone’ so Hayley left school at 16 determined to work with horses. After a course at Northern Race College in Doncaster she was bitten by the bug to become a jockey, which she achieved age 17.

She had an unforgettable start when her first ride broke a leg one mile into the race and afterwards she had her first and last go at losing weight in the jockeys’ sauna which she hasn’t ventured into since! She went on to ride her first winner on the 8th ride and in 2011 became the first female jockey to ride 100 UK flat race winners, when she also became the first woman jockey to win a British Group 1 race.

She said: “Never in a million years did I think I’d have a Group 1 Winner when I was asked to ride in the July Cup at Newmarket last year, when I won on Dream Ahead. Frankie Dettori came up and ‘high fived’ me afterwards. It was madness, a dream. It’s moments like this that make you want to carry on.”

Setbacks in her career include two bad falls. The first, at Newmarket when ‘fired’ from a horse and knocked unconscious, causing her ears to bleed, with concussion causing short term memory loss. She was ‘stood down’ on medical grounds for a year but, determined to get back in the saddle quickly, Hayley won an appeal and was back riding after four months. Her second injury she took more in her stride, taking advantage of four months out while recovering from a broken ankle which she still has treatment for today.

Hayley has her sights set on continued success in 2013 and will be developing her own brand profile. “I want to be a step ahead and social media is a real interest I’d like to do more on. I don’t want to be a galloping granny.”

Sponsors of the event were Marshall Jaguar, Barker Gotelee, Ensors, Quantrills and The Ideas Centre.

For further press information contact Penny Arbuthnot, Genesis PR (IoD Suffolk Committee), tel: 01473 326401 (07885 238374) penny.arbuthnot@genesispr.co.uk