Michael Bell expects Hayley Turner to return with 'reputation untarnished'
Michael Bell, a long-time supporter of Hayley Turner, expects Britain's most successful female rider to return with her reputation untarnished after completing a three-month suspension for betting on horses while a professional licensed jockey.
Turner has ridden many winners for Bell, including, perhaps most memorably, Margot Did in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York in 2011.
Speaking on Friday, a day on from Turner receiving her suspension from the disciplinary panel at a hearing at BHA headquarters in London, Bell said: "Hayley broke the rules, but the waters were muddied and there were mitigating circumstances.
"I think the BHA have dealt with it very fairly. Hayley is a great girl. Everyone knows there was no skulduggery intended, and her reputation won't be tarnished."
Turner, who initially retired in November 2015 but has ridden intermittently since and more regularly lately, and who has successfully embarked on a broadcasting career with At The Races and then ITV Racing, was found in breach of rule 53D in that she placed bets between December 2015 and July 2017 while licensed.
The bets were placed on a Paddy Power account she opened in her own name in December 2015 and were drawn to the BHA’s notice by the bookmaker this August.
Marcus Tregoning, another who has provided Turner with plenty of winners, including Clovelly Bay on the eve of her retirement at Chelmsford, also expects her to bounce back.
"I’ve known Hayley for years," he said on Friday. "Without question she hasn’t done anything [to do with betting] deliberately.
"It’s pretty disappointing for Hayley and makes life difficult for her as she had just started her French venture.
“She’ll get over it, though, and will bounce back. I’m sure of that.”
Turner herself admitted she was a "bit disappointed" to receive a suspension for what she described as a "stupid error", instead of a fine, given the main reason for her coming out of retirement was to ride in France over the winter to take allowance of the 2kg allowance for female jockeys brought in this year.
She intends to return to race-riding when her suspension ends in March, having "got the bug again", and would hope to resume her appearances on on ITV next Flat season.
It is understood that ITV are fully supportive of Turner and that the betting case will not affect their relationship with her.
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