Hayley Turner (centre): part of the winning Shergar Cup team last year
PICTURE: Getty Images
By Nicholas Godfrey 11:07AM 1 AUG 2016
HAYLEY TURNER has her eyes firmly fixed on the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup as she insisted her temporary decision to return to the saddle for Ascot on Saturday is not a precursor to a return to full-time riding.
Turner, 33, retired from riding at the end of the last Flat season, only to return to action last month after receiving a call from Ascot asking if she would take part in the Shergar Cup this year following the injuries to the likes of Sophie Doyle, Michelle Payne, Sammy Jo Bell and Cathy Gannon.
Having answered Ascot’s call, Turner made her comeback last month and is riding at the all-female jockeys fixture at Carlisle on Monday as she builds up to defending the Shergar Cup title she won as part of The Girls team last year.
Speaking in an interview with the Racing Post on Monday, Turner said: “Really, I’m not [planning a comeback]. I think everybody is reading a bit too much into this, thinking I’ve got some kind of game plan, but I haven’t.
“The reason I’m riding is only because [Ascot] asked me to do the Shergar Cup. I’ve always loved it, and I only got on the team last year because someone else was injured. I was gutted, but then I was on the team again and it was fantastic; it’s always my favourite day of the year. They asked me to do it and I’m not going to turn it down, am I?”
Since quitting the saddle Turner has been involved in a number of activities including acting as a pundit on At The Races, coaching the riders for the Magnolia Cup at Glorious Goodwood and appearing on Question of Sport.
While admitting she does miss riding on the big days, Turner says she is happy with how things have gone since last year.
“I’m pleased with how it’s gone so far and I’m learning a lot of new stuff, but I do find it really hard to explain my job title as such,” she said.
“I suppose it’s only been a few months and I have to thank my agent Johnno Spence, who found me a few things to earn some money while I figure things out.”
Do not miss our extensive interview with Britain’s most successful female rider Hayley Turner. Only in Monday’s Racing Post – also available to download on iPad.