What Hayley and Margot did next

HAYLEY Turner reinforced her position as one of the leading riders in the land after Margot Did swooped to conquer in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes.

Not content by claiming an unprecedented outright first Group One victory for a British lady in the July Cup, the 28-year-old repeated the dose at York for her guv’nor, Michael Bell.

It has, especially this season, become a rather trite cliche to label Turner as the top female jockey in the country, when surely her prowess in the saddle must now deserve to rank alongside her male counterparts.

After all, the she could easily have succumbed to a fit of panic when Margot Did appeared to be travelling by the far the best in a six-horse group along the stand’s side.

Instead, Turner possessed the sangfroid judgement to bide her time until early inside the final furlong, when her willing companion skipped clear of Hamish McGonagall, who was also in the sextet close to the grandstand, by three-quarters of a length.

“I’m overwhelmed,” declared Turner.

“I can’t believe it, it’s the best season ever.

“It just goes to show if you work hard and are dedicated it can be done.”

Bell’s unflinching bravery to run Margot Did at York was also highlighted by Turner as being the defining factor behind this highly decorated success.

Although, as a three-year-old, Margot Did was in receipt of weight from all but two of her rivals, no filly belonging to the Classic generation has won Britain’s premier sprint since Habibti in 1983. Ian Balding’s Blue Siren was first past the post in 1994 but was placed second behind Piccolo.

Newmarket-based Bell must also have had plenty to consider after her recent hot streak was curtailed in Group Three company at Sandown last month, when she finished fourth from an admittedly uncompromising draw.

But fortune invariably favours the bold in racing, with Bell’s decision to step up to the top table in open company even questioned by her rider.

Turner, who has ridden Margot Did in all 13 of her starts, continued: “I thought maybe a Group One would be stretching her ability-wise, but obviously not.

“She’s always been special to me, but I’ve only really just figured how to get the best out of her.

“She loves plenty of daylight. She has one gear for the end and you have to save it for as long as you can.

“The longer you can wait on her, the better.”

Bell added: “This filly won a Listed race in June at Sandown by five lengths. Not many sprints are won by five lengths.

“She looked good that day, and this was always the plan.

“She was unlucky in the Lowther last year behind Hooray, who went on to win the Cheveley Park. That day she looked unfortunate and, in hindsight, she may well have been.

“This year we found the key to riding her at Sandown, slightly by default, as she had to make the running from her draw. We found that she was happy bowling along.

“I thought it was going to be tough for a three-year-old filly only getting 2lb (plus the sex allowance) from the older horses but she delivered.

“Hopefully next year she will be hard to beat because it is very hard for three-year-old sprinters.

“I would have thought it would be almost impossible to prise her off the owners at this stage, so hopefully she will be back next year. There’s not that many Group Ones in a year, so for Hayley to win two is a real achievement.”

Hoot It looks likely to step back up in trip

HOOF IT, the Mick Easterby-trained sprinter who is jointly-owned by golfer Lee Westwood, was sent off the well-backed 11-4 favourite, but could only finish a staying-on sixth to indicate a step back up in trip could be forthcoming.

“It’s all over,” muttered a visibly downcast Easterby.

While surely a knee-jerk reaction – there will be other days in the sunshine for Hoof It – the journey has only just begun for Hayley Turner.

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