Newmarket-based jockey Hayley Turner is preparing to bow out on a high when she takes on her last ride in the UK this weekend.
The 32-year-old will ride Castle Combe in Chelmsford tomorrow (6.10pm), before ending her 15-year career with three races at Doncaster on Saturday.
Turner is regarded as the UK’s most successful female jockey, and has been victorious in both the July Cup and Nunthorpe Stakes Group One races during her career.
Ahead of her final weekend competing on British soil, Turner is hoping to end on a high with another win to add to the hundreds she has claimed over the years.
“I’ve had a lot of time since I announced I was going to retire to get my head around it,” Turner said. “It’s gone really smoothly and it’s been nice to get a couple of wins.
“It’s difficult for any sportsman who is retiring. They all want to end on a high, and sometimes you can’t do that because of injuries and other circumstances; so for me it’s been great to do it.”
The Southwell-raised jockey enjoyed a winning return to her home racetrack on Tuesday, as she rode Yul Finegold to victory in the Coral Claiming Stakes.
Turner made her debut as a jockey at Southwell back in 2000, and on her final ride at the Nottinghamshire circuit picked up her 43rd win of the season.
The former apprentice of Newmarket trainer Michael Bell was the first female jockey to win 100 UK flat races in one season in 2008, yet it was her first Group One success three years later which Turner classes as her best achievement.
“Winning the July Cup with David Simcock has been my best achievement,” she said.
“My whole career though has been a joy and I’ve loved every minute of it. There’s been ups and downs along the way but I’ve enjoyed it.
“As a jockey you are travelling around the world and you really have to dedicate your whole life to it. You can’t pick and choose where you go.”
Turner’s success on the track has triggered a rise in the number of female jockeys to take up the sport, with the retiring jockey hoping she can act as inspiration for those who have just started their careers.
“To be competitive you have to be full on,” she said. “I’d like to think there are young kids now starting out who can look and see the hard work I’ve put in.
“I’m not one for sitting around so I’ll be looking to move onto the next chapter as soon as I can.”