Hayley Turner rewrote the history books in June when she became only the second female jockey to ride a winner at Royal Ascot when she steered Thanks Be to victory in the Sandringham Stakes.
This weekend she and the Girls team look to defend their Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup crown against Great Britain and Ireland, Europe and The Rest of the World teams.
Here we ask her what makes it such a special day for racegoers and concert goers alike.
You’ve made more Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup appearances than any other jockey – 12 in total – what are you particularly looking forward to this year as the captain for a second year?
“I’m looking forward to meeting the new Girls on my team – just the day in general really as it’s so different to the rest of our racing lives. We’re usually racing every day in the same way and it’s refreshing to be able to do what we love but in a team format. It really helps to break up the year of racing with a super fun day.”
You’re the most successful British female jockey of all time and became only the second female rider to win at Royal Ascot this year. What’s next for you in horse racing?
“Keep enjoying it now really – that’s the most important thing to me. You can’t really plan anything in horse racing, so you have to just roll with it and see what’s in store.”
Last year saw The Girls team lift the trophy having amassed 76 points during the day, six clear of Team Europe on 70 points – do you think you will be victorious again this year?
“It’s difficult to know until I see the horse draws a couple of days before the event – this Thursday I think. I rode Marcus Tregoning’s Power of Darkness before and won so it would be great to get him but we don’t get a say. It’s just a case of seeing which horses we get in a couple of days!”
You won the Alistair Haggis Silver Saddle trophy in 2018 having won 39 points – the most of all 12 riders – are you hoping to beat that score this year?
“Well it would be nice obviously, but I won’t be disappointed if I don’t. It’s a great day to be involved with so winning the Silver Saddle trophy two years in a row would just be a bonus. Alistair was the one who actually got me into the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup back in 2007, when there were only two teams rather than four, so it was really special to have won last year.”
Which of the music acts are you most looking forward to at this year’s post-racing concert? (Jessie J, Tinie Tempah, Go West)
“Oh gosh all of them – meeting Example in 2018 was amazing but he’s not here this year! The concert always gives racegoers the best atmosphere after the day’s racing so it’ll always be great no matter the line-up!”
Why is the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup such a special raceday to you?
“It’s just a bit different to what we’re used to as jockeys with it being a team-based competition. A lot of the non-racing audience is attracted to it too and the crowds really get involved with backing their chosen team, so the vibe of the day is really amazing.”
You’re racing alongside Australia’s Jamie Kah and Japan’s Nanako Fujita in this year’s Girls team – do you think this line-up could see you raise the trophy for a second year?
“Again, it totally depends on the draw of the horses and I guess there is a slight disadvantage in that they haven’t ridden at Ascot before Then again, quite a few of the 12 jockeys competing haven’t either, coming from all over the globe, so the winning team title really is up for grabs.”
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