Hayley Turner felt a weight lifted from her shoulders on Tuesday after finally reaching 1,000 career winners.
Britain’s leading female jockey has long been assured of a place in history but she was desperate to reach the landmark figure and it felt fitting that she did it in the colours of Khalifa Dasmal for trainer David Simcock — two men who have been big influences on her career.
The horse that propelled her to victory was Tradesman, who came with a swooping late run to land a two-mile handicap at Chelmsford last night, justifying 9-4 favouritism. The 40-year-old, who had her first ride in March 2000, was greeted in the winners’ enclosure by family members.
Tradesman is most certainly not in the same league as Turner’s first Group One winner Dream Ahead, whom Simcock trained for Dasmal in 2011, but he will certainly have a special place in her affections from now.
‘I’ve had a lot of fun on Khalifa’s horses down the years and David has been a supporter of mine from day one,’ said an exultant Turner, whose last winner came on November 4.
Hayley Turner has become the first female jockey in Europe to ride 1,000 winners
‘It feels like a relief. I made a big deal of it, made a mountain out of a molehill and put pressure on myself. It’s taken plenty of time but now I’m just chuffed!’
Turner has no intentions of retiring as she is riding as well as ever. She remains an inspiration to young female riders, such as Hollie Doyle and Saffie Osborne.
Dale Gibson, interim chief executive of the Professional Jockeys Association, said: ‘Hayley’s achievements will encourage many more women to participate in the sport.’