Hayley Turner, Britain’s all-time most successful female jockey, is to quit the saddle, it has been reported.
Turner, 32, is believed to have taken the decision following months of injury frustration and a lack of opportunities to compete at the highest level.
The Racing Post reports that she is likely to try to develop a career in the media while also exploring a profile outside of horseracing.
2011 proved a golden year for Turner, as she landed the Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket aboard the David Simcock trained Dream Ahead, becoming the first female jockey to win a Group 1 contest in the UK outright.
Just a month later she added a second, when winning the Nunthorpe Stakes at York on Margot Did. That victory was all the sweeter as it came for trainer Michael Bell, for whom she had ridden for 13 years.
Their association began after Turner had graduated from the Northern Racing College and became an apprentice in 2000.
She became the first woman to claim the apprentice title, an accolade she shared in 2005 with Saleem Golam, the duo tying on 44 winners – and was only the fourth female jockey to ride out her claim in the UK, winning a ‘Lester’ for apprentice of the year, the first of her sex to win the trophy.
2008 was another brilliant year for Turner as she rode 100 winners, but just as her career was set for lift off, she was brought back down to earth following a fall in March 2009, sustaining head injuries which kept her out of action that year.
Turner became a household name, thanks to her exploits in the Shergar Cup and she recently contested the final leg of the World All-Star Jockeys contest, winning a race in Japan.
In August 2012, Turner again made her mark internationally, as she partnered I’m A Dreamer to victory in the Grade 1 Beverley D. Stakes at Arlington.
However, 2013 proved another difficult year as she split from Michael Bell’s stable and also suffered a nasty fall at Doncaster aboard Seal Of Approval, injuring her back and missing the ride when that same filly later went on to Group 1 success at Ascot.
Turner returned to the saddle in 2014, but her 40 wins represented her lowest score since 2006. She has been a fantastic ambassador not only for female jockeys, but for British racing, which will be much the poorer for her absence after the present season draws to a close.