Hayley Turner's victory on Dream Ahead in Saturday's Darley July Cup confirmed her status as one of Britain's top jockeys and enabled her to achieve another career first.
In 2008 she became the first female jockey toride 100 winners in a calendar year with her victory on Mullitovermaurice at Wolverhampton on 30 December. In January this year she had her first rides at the Dubai Racing Carnival. And now she has become the first female to win a Group 1 race outright. In doing so Turner improved on Alex Greaves' dead heat on Ya Malak in the 1997 Nunthorpe at York. The two celebrated together after the race. "Alex came over and gave me a hug. She was so genuinely thrilled for me and it was really nice she was there" Turner said.
Reflecting on her success Turner pointed to Saturday's busy fixture schedule as a significant factor in providing her with the opportunity on Dream Ahead. Jamie Spencer and William Buick both had commitments elsewhere which meant they had to turn down the ride. Turner was quick to seize the moment when trainer David Simcock gave her the leg up on his stable star.
Turner has been attached to Michael Bell's stable since her apprentice days, and he was quick to praise her success, and to acknowledge Simcock's part in it. "It was very good of David Simcock and Khalifa Dasmal (Dream Ahead's owner) to use her and give her a chance at the highest level and, like the postman, she delivered."
Turner is now looking forward for another first. Whilst she is level headed enough to recognise the inevitable ups and downs of a racing rider's lot, and the disappointments that come along form setting too many targets, her excitement at ticking off a Group 1 success was evident. She said "I'm going to give my agent a ring now and tell him a Classic win is our next mission." That might have been half in jest, but Saturday's victory gives trainers every reason to provide her with rides and Turner herself every reason to continue to Dream Ahead.