Hayley Turner Set to Retire, Victoria Pendleton Second and Champion Hurdle Legend Retires
As summer draws to a close we look at two more racing careers doing likewise and another just beginning. Hurricane Fly gave us some great moments at the Cheltenham Festival, whilst Hayley Turner was the first woman to ride 100 winners in a season and both are leaving the great world of racing, whilst former double Olympic cycling champion Victoria Pendleton came second on her debut as a jockey.
Hurricane Fly Retires
The Cheltenham Festival is still around six months away but already many punters and trainers will be thinking about the great Festival. One horse that won’t be going to Cheltenham in 2016 is the legend Hurricane Fly, after it was announced that the 11-year-old was retiring. The sensational gelding won a world record 22 Group One races from his 32 starts over the jumps and Ruby Walsh, who rode him to 18 wins said “Quite simply, Hurricane Fly is the best hurdler I have ever sat on. The only hurdler you can compare him to in my lifetime is Istabraq.”
Trainer Willie Mullins was also hugely reverential in saying “What can you say about him? He’s a legend of a horse” whilst also expressing his pleasure that Hurricane Fly had gone out on his own terms.
Hurricane Fly is a son of Montjeu, who won the Irish Derby, and his two Champion Hurdle successes at Cheltenham, as well as his style and record number of victories, have ensured his status as one of the greatest National Hunt horses ever.
Hayley Turner to Retire in November
Hayley Turner will retire as a jockey at the end of the Flat season in November it is understood. Turner, the first woman to ride 100 winners in a season, is only 32-years-old but a lack of quality rides in recent months have made her decide now is the time to go. She has ridden two Group One winners and set her milestone mark for winners back in 2008, a year when she rode more than 900 races! Her biggest win was probably the 2011 Nunthorpe Stakes and her retirement will leave a big gap in terms of top female jockeys.
Victoria Pendleton Swaps Two Wheels for Four Legs
We revealed some time ago that double Olympic cycling legend Victoria Pendleton was hoping to become a jockey and she made her debut at the weekend, finishing second in the Betfair Novice Flat Amateur Riders’ Handicap at Ripon.
That amateur outing was her competitive debut in the saddle and whilst she has a long way to go to be seen as a replacement for Turner, the 34-year-old is certainly keen to progress in racing. She hopes to race at the Cheltenham Festival in 2016 in the Foxhunter Chase and this debut was certainly promising enough to suggest that is realistic, despite her defeat on board Royal Etiquette to 33/1 shot Jordaura.