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Sammy Jo hails Hayley

By Frank Brownlow

Sammy Jo Bell will wave goodbye to one of her best pals in racing - and aim to ride a few winners into the bargain.

Hayley Turner, widely regarded as Britain's finest ever female jockey, retires after five rides at Doncaster on what is the final day of the turf flat season.

Ulster rider Sammy Jo, who has three mounts at the meeting, will wish the 32-year-old all the best for the future - before turning her attention to getting to the very top of her chosen profession.

"Hayley has been such an inspiration to me. I am going to miss her - she's a great jockey, a perfect role model and a really nice person," said the 24-year-old from Dunadry, who was at Hayley's retirement party last weekend.

"It's nice to be riding at Hayley's final meeting and I'm sure it will be an emotional day."

Sammy Jo, based in Yorkshire at the yard of Richard Fahey, will be on board Khelman, Farlow and In My Place.

"They are all good horses. I have won on Farlow before and all three have a chance," she said.

"It would be nice to end the turf season with a winner," said Sammy Jo, who has 28 winners in what has been a super season.

The highlight was the Shergar Cup at Ascot in August in which Sammy Jo inspired the women's team - Hayley also in the line-up - to success, with the Ulster girl emerging as top rider in the event ahead of some of the best jockeys around.

She will soon jet off to Barbados for almost two weeks to take part in a similar event and also plans to get as many rides as possible on the all-weather back in the UK.

"Things are going well for me at the moment. If someone had told me at the start of the season just how well they would go, I wouldn't have believed them," added Sammy Jo, who still has one season remaining as an apprentice.

Hayley had a winner on her penultimate day, Clovelly Bay triumphing at Chelmsford - the jockey ironically picking up a two-day ban in the process, although that won't come into play in time to rule her out of riding at Doncaster.

Meanwhile trainer Gary Moore, who is recovering well in hospital after being kicked in the back several times by one of his horses on Thursday, had a winner at Fontwell, his son Joshua riding Flute Bowl to victory.

Paul Nicholls fears All Yours could need better ground as he steps into open company for the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton.

After finishing second in the Dovecote at Kempton and fifth in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham, All Yours took a huge leap forward to win in Grade One company at Aintree.

On that day he beat Devilment, who has already been out and franked the form this season, but the forecast rain is a worry for the champion trainer.

Nicholls runs another Grade One winner in the race in the shape of Irving, who gives weight to all his rivals.

"All Yours obviously looked really good at Aintree but that was on really nice ground," said Nicholls.

"My worry would be if it went really soft. He has won on soft but not in this sort of class. He might not enjoy it.

"Irving had plenty of issues last year but is fit and well again now.

"This should be a nice prep run for him for the Fighting Fifth as we really want to win that again with him."

Zarib finished in front of All Yours in the Fred Winter for Nicholls' former assistant Dan Skelton, who thinks his runner is better than his current rating.

"He won't mind the likely ground and I'm looking forward to running him," said Skelton.

"I think he's still well handicapped as he's off the same mark as he was in the Fred Winter and then he was over the top after that. He's got to go and do it now."

John Ferguson's horses appear to be holding their form in better races this season and he runs the unbeaten Francis Of Assisi and Buckwheat.

"I'm hoping the quicker pace, which they should go in a race like this will enable Francis Of Assisi to settle better," explained Ferguson.

"He's taken to hurdling well but this is obviously a big step up in class from a novice hurdle at Fakenham."

Belfast Telegraph


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