Turner hoping for winning return
Her return in its final, dark days serves as a timely reminder that few shone more brightly on the British Turf in 2011 than Hayley Turner.
The first female rider to win a Group One prize outright when taking the July Cup on Dream Ahead, she then won a second on Margot Did in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York — the very race in which Alex Greaves had made that initial breakthrough for their sex, by sharing a dead-heat back in 1997.
But Turner was brought down to earth within 10 days, breaking an ankle in a fall at Bath.
She has maintained a place in the limelight during her absence, for instance when named Most Inspirational Sportswoman at the Jaguar Sports Academy Awards.
But even today’s relative obscurity of Kempton was expected to delight her every bit as much, as she was due to take her first three mounts since her accident.
Turner completed her recuperation with a five-day trip to New York and Atlantic City. She complained that there was no gym near her hotel, and resorted to running up and down its stairs. “I also find shopping is a great way to keep fit,” she said.
“Macey's is a real test of stamina!” Departing from those wilful stereotypes, her next ambition is to win a Classic — albeit she is setting no specific targets for 2012. “All I can do is work hard,” she said. “And then what will be, will be.”
Plenty of ups and downs no doubt await Brendan Powell Jr in his own riding career, but he is plainly well equipped to follow in the footsteps of his Grand National-winning father.
The teenager rode his first treble at Plumpton yesterday — two winners for his boss, Colin Tizzard, and another for Powell Sr., nowadays a trainer.
However far their names may some day be recognised beyond their own sport, Turner or Powell can hardly hope to match the reach of Wayne Rooney. It is quite a coup for Tom Dascombe, then, that the England striker has decided to invest in his first racehorse.
Rooney recently visited Manor House Stables in Cheshire — where Dascombe's landlord is Rooney's Manchester United team-mate, Michael Owen — and was so impressed that he agreed to buy a yearling.
Last summer Dascombe saddled Brown Panther to win in Owen's colours at Royal Ascot, and the colt also finished second in the St Leger.
Becauseicouldntsee will aim to go one better in this year's Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown on December 27.
The eight-year-old beat all bar Dermot Weld's Majestic Concorde 12 months ago and has once again been aimed at the valuable pot.
His ultimate destination is Aintree for the Grand National in which he was quietly fancied last season only to fall at the second.
His two runs this term have been over an inadequate trip.
“It's all systems go for Becauseicouldntsee in the Paddy Power Chase and he'll definitely run barring a setback between now and then,” said trainer Noel Glynn.
“The last race brought him on a bit and he needs four miles really. He's not fast enough for two and requires three miles plus.
“It doesn't really bother me that he's 6lb higher than last year. He'll be fine. The Paddy Power is a very competitive race and I'm going there hopeful but there could be 10 horses coming to the last together. It's that sort of contest but it's a fantastic pot and I'm hoping for the best.”
Becauseicouldntsee has been put in as a 16-1 chance by the sponsors behind Willie Mullins' 9-1 favourite On His Own.