Hayley Turner: A Royal Ascot winner has been on my hit-list for a while *H&H VIP*

Opinion

Everyone wants a Royal Ascot winner, because it’s a unique meeting known around the world. Riding a winner had been on my hit-list for a long time and I’ve been on cloud nine ever since.

I’ve known Thanks Be’s trainer Charlie Fellowes since he was assistant to James Fanshawe, for whom I used to ride, but I’ve only teamed up with him recently. Charlie thought the ground and trip were perfect for Thanks Be, and the team seemed confident about how well she was going at home. They didn’t tell me she was a certainty to win, but they seemed to think she might run a big race, even though she was 33/1 in a 27-runner race. Needless to say, it was a massive thrill, up there with everything I’ve achieved as a jockey.

The wheels are definitely in motion with the girls who are riding nowadays; the standard is so much higher than it has ever been, the numbers are going up and I’m sure it will continue to snowball. Hopefully, a Royal Ascot winner for a female jockey won’t be as big a deal in the future.

Since Friday, I’ve been so busy. I didn’t even have time on Saturday to take the washing off the line — I’d put it out on Friday morning before I left the house for Royal Ascot. There were so many nice messages from people and, as I like to reply to them all individually, I’d just about got on top of them by the Sunday morning. Having too many messages to reply to is a pretty nice problem to have.

A pleasure to watch

There were so many highlights from the rest of the meeting that it’s hard to choose just one, but I thought Blue Point winning the King’s Stand and the Diamond Jubilee in the same week was a great training performance by Charlie Appleby. It’s a pleasure to watch a horse like that — he’s so fast and professional at the same time.

It’s good fun watching the other races with everyone on the TV in the weighing room, even if I’ve never actually had the chance to do Royal Ascot properly as a spectator — doing the picnic before and having a few drinks.

I’ll keep riding for as long as I’m enjoying it. A winner like this obviously helps, but I have been in a positive frame of mind during the season anyway. Luckily, Royal Ascot will be around forever, so I’m sure there will be plenty of time to go there for fun when I retire.

Ref Horse & Hound; 27 June 2019