Former retiree Hayley Turner to grace Turffontein
The best female jockey in the world and first one in 32 years to win a race at the famous Ascot meeting is having a brilliant year
When top jockeys suddenly retire it makes big news, but perhaps their actions should be taken with a pinch of salt. There are now a number of examples of both male and female jockeys who reach for their saddles once again.
HAYLEY TURNER: The best-known female jockey in the world, who has accepted to ride for an international team at Turffontein on November 16, announced her retirement in 2015.
She sprang to stardom in 2011, winning the grade 1 July Cup at Newmarket on Dream Ahead, and she landed another grade 1 victory on Margot Did in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York.
Now riding in the UK again, 2019 has been arguably the most successful year of her career. At Royal Ascot in June, she became the first female in 32 years to win a race at the famous meeting, taking the Sandringham Handicap on Thanks Be.
In August, Turner was again the darling of Ascot racing fans, winning the Silver Saddle at the Shergar Cup meeting for the second year running.
MARK KHAN: The five-times SA champion jockey announced his retirement in 2010, but seven years later in 2017 he was back in the riders’ ranks. Last season he rode in 524 races and notched 54 wins. During the height of his career, he captained an SA team in a similar international as the one planned for November.
JAMIE SPENCER: Top-flight UK jockey, who was champion in 2005 and 2007, announced his retirement in 2014 at the age of 34 but he is back competing at the highest level. Spencer married Emma Ramsden in 2005 but the couple divorced in 2010 after press speculation linking him with Hayley Turner.
Announcing the Turffontein race, Racing Association CEO Larry Wainstein told Turftalk that both Turner’s teammates could include Paul Hannigan, PJ MacDonald and Danny Tudhope who is in second place behind Oisin Murphy in the UK jockeys championship.
SA champion jockey, Lyle Hewitson, is now in Hong Kong and unlikely to return for the international meeting. His should result in automatic places in the SA side for Muzi Yeni, Anton Marcus, Gavin Lerena and Greg Cheyne.
This quartet finished second, third, fourth and fifth in the 2018/19 jockeys championship which concluded on July 31. There will be two “wild card” selections for the other two places which could be filled by Richard Fourie and Warren Kennedy.
Kennedy has enjoyed the same sort of successful year as Hayley Turner and he ended the season with 139 wins from 1138 rides. He has continued in top form in the first four weeks of the new campaign.
Legendary trainer Mike de Kock sends three runners to Thursday’s meeting at Turffontein and could land a treble with Tallinn (fifth race), Armstrong (sixth) and Widjaan (seventh).
The pick of the trio may be Tallinn as there is plenty to like about August’s debut win by the daughter of Vercingetorix. She runs in a handicap on Thursday and could prove too smart for No More Words and Littlewood.
Armstrong finished a close third on his most recent outing and jockey Chase Maujean retains the ride on the Var gelding.
1st Race: (7) Hot August (3) Snow In Seattle (1) Lithuanian's Dream (2) Ice Eater
2nd Race: (2) Piccadilly Street (1) Plum Field (3) Seneca Falls (6) Full Force
3rd Race: (4) Perfect Light (9) Therecanbeonlyone (3) Seeking Gold (2) Cranberry Crush
4th Race: (1) Snorting Bull (3) Fact (2) Before Noon (4) Master And Man
5th Race: (10) Tallinn (8) No More Words (3) Littlewood (2) Bid Before Sunset
6th Race: (2) Armstrong (6) Now And Forever (1) Hidden Agenda (4) Prince Jordan
7th Race: (1) Wijdaan (7) Midnight Lights (5) Kisumu (4) The Great Queen
8th Race: (1) Segontium (2) Vartanium (3) The Riddler (4) Proposition