There have been rumours for a little while that she and trainer Michael Bell were not working well together, and certainly the statistics for both this season suggest that both are struggling. Bell’s season has hardly started, with just 12 winners from 165 runners, a strike rate of just 7%. Things are not quite so dire for Turner as she has ridden 30 winners, but only six of those have come in partnership with Bell.
The two have decided on a parting of the ways after 13 years working together. During that time Turner has progressed from joint champion apprentice in 2005 to become the first female jockey to ride 100 winners in a year (2008) and first to ride a Group 1 winner. Indeed, she landed two within the space of a month in 2011, riding David Simcock trained Dream Ahead to win the July Cup at Newmarket, and then gaining her biggest success for Bell at York on Margot Did in the Nunthorpe.
Both are doing all they can to make it clear that the split is amicable, and Bell has said he’ll continue to provide rides for Turner when the horse is right. If the recent record is anything to go by, that won’t be in the highest class of races, as Turner had ridden both Oaks third The Lark and last week’s Queen Anne Stakes runner Sovereign Debt in the past, but not in their most recent races.
Turner told the Racing Post, “These things happen. I’ve been lucky enough to have had the security of the job for 13 years and I owe Michael a lot for the advice he ahs given me in my career. It’s a bit scary to suddenly be going it alone and I don’t really know what to expect, but there’s lots of racing and lots of horses to ride so I’m sure it will work out fine.”
She will be hopeful that trainers like Conor Dore and James Fanshawe, for whom she regularly rides out, will provide her with more rides, and she said she was also hopeful of the leg up on some of Marcus Tregoning’s two year olds.
Bell clearly wished her well for the future, saying, “She’s been with me for 13 years and sometimes you just need to freshen things up. There’s been no falling out. It hopefully will also do Hayley good – she possibly needs a new challenge. It will give her a chanced to build new contacts.”
Turner wasn’t born for another six years after Fleetwood Mac released rumours. It seems the message is just as relevant today.