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Hayley hails an historic Ascot win

Perfect match: Hayley Turner celebrates with Thanks Be after their win at Royal Ascot
Perfect match: Hayley Turner celebrates with Thanks Be after their win at Royal Ascot

By Graham Clark

Hayley Turner became only the second female jockey - and first since Gay Kelleway 32 years ago - to ride a Royal Ascot winner when Thanks Be triumphed in the Sandringham Handicap.

Turner got Charlie Fellowes' 33-1 shot home in front by a neck from the Queen's Magnetic Charm over the straight mile.

Reflecting on her success, Turner, who had a brief spell in retirement before returning to the saddle, said: "The girls' changing rooms are full now - and it was only a matter of time.

"Gay Kelleway was obviously the first, and great respect to her. It is certainly overdue and the girls have been doing so well, since I first started riding, to the standard they are now.

"Nicola Currie was close and Hollie Doyle and Josephine Gordon have had good rides here. Everyone is like, 'why are no girls winning', but numbers are rising and it will happen in time.

"It was just a thrill to have a winner for Charlie, who is an up-and-coming trainer to keep in with.

"It does mean a lot and the whole girl thing, it is just going to get better and better for them.

"Nothing is going to happen overnight, but if you look at this in 10 years' time I bet a lot more girls have done it. It will become a common thing and the media won't care that much, as it will become normal."

Turner, who was joint champion apprentice in 2005, is the first woman to ride 100 winners in a year and is a three-time winner at Group One level, added: "She was an outsider and you could only be so confident, but I am in slight disbelief.

"I was going to persevere and if it wasn't this year I would have had another go next year.

"It is great for Charlie, as it is his first winner. I have had a few places, I was second in the Albany and I finished third in one of the handicaps and I've been knocking on the door. It's great.

"Fair play to Gay Kelleway, she has had the bragging rights for a long time and I can take them off her. I was hopeful that someone would have a winner, and I hoped it would be me, which makes it even better.

"Royal Ascot is different class. I've had winners all over the world and it is a buzz, but Royal Ascot is so unique and has so much history and it has for years and will continue to do so.

"It is going so well this year. I've got a lot of old support and new support. It's just fun and I enjoy my job so much."

• Chantilly trainer Francis-Henri Graffard completed a fairytale week when Watch Me sprang a 20-1 surprise in the Coronation Stakes after Channel had given him his first French Classic success in the Prix de Diane on Sunday.

Graffard admitted he is living the dream, while winning rider Pierre-Charles Boudot modestly proclaimed he was a "lucky boy".

Graffard said: "It's a week you dream for. You get up every morning to do this job to be part of this game at this level."

For Boudot, it was another milestone in a budding career.

The 26-year-old said: "Winning a Group One race at Royal Ascot is very important for a jockey, and for everybody who worked for this horse.

"Royal Ascot is the best place in the world for the racing. I'm a lucky boy.

"It's been the perfect year."

Belfast Telegraph


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