Hayley Turner has become the second female jockey – and first since Gay Kelleway 32 years ago – to ride a Royal Ascot winner when Thanks Be triumphed in the Sandringham Handicap.
Trained by Charlie Fellowes, Thanks Be got home by a neck to beat the Queen’s horse Magnetic Charm over the mile (1600m).
“Gay Kelleway was obviously the first, and great respect to her. It is certainly overdue and the girls have been doing so well, since I first started riding, to the standard they are now,” Turner said.
“Nicola Currie was close and Hollie Doyle and Josephine Gordon have had good rides here. Everyone is like, ‘why are no girls winning’, but numbers are rising and it will happen in time.
“It was just a thrill to have a winner for Charlie, who is an up-and-coming trainer to keep in with. It does mean a lot and the whole girl thing, it is just going to get better and better for them.
“Nothing is going to happen overnight, but if you look at this in 10 years’ time I bet a lot more girls have done it. It will become a common thing and the media won’t care that much, as it will become normal.”
Turner, who was joint champion apprentice in 2005, is the first woman to ride 100 winners in a year and is a three-time winner at Group One level.
Fellowes, who brought A Prince Of Arran to Australia last spring to win the Lexus Stakes and run third in the Melbourne Cup, said Turner’s work ethic earned her the ride.
“What Hayley has done for this sport is phenomenal,” he said.
“She is the best female jockey that has ever ridden. Hayley rang me up two weeks ago and said, ‘can I come and ride out for you two days a week?’.
“She had ridden a winner for me at Newmarket earlier in the year, so I said, ‘good idea’.
“It is purely because of that that she picked up this ride. There are not many people that can do 8st and she rode her beautifully.”
Stewards, however, took a dim view of Turner’s overuse of the whip inside the final 300m, suspending her for nine days.