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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Hayley Turner faces BHA quiz into her bets while remaining a licensed jockey

Hayley Turner in her ITV role, which has come into conflict with her jockey commitments
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Hayley Turner is to face a BHA inquiry next week after being charged with breaching rules that prohibit licensed professional jockeys from betting.

The pioneering jockey, who has made a successful comeback to race-riding after retiring a couple of years ago, and has established herself as part of ITV Racing's presenting team, is said to be "deeply embarrassed" by the matter.

Paul Struthers, chief executive of the Professional Jockeys Association, explained the circumstances in a statement issued on Wednesday.

He said: “Following her retirement from the saddle in November 2015, Hayley opened an online betting account in her name registered to her home address, the first ever betting account she had opened. 

"Even though she was officially retired, Hayley subsequently took part in a number of one-off, invitational events and had some warm-up rides to prepare for them, and held a licence from the BHA enabling her to take part in those events. It was only this summer that Hayley decided to return to race-riding more fully in France.

“Even though Hayley no longer saw herself as a jockey, and placed no bets whilst actively riding, she did place bets whilst holding a licence, which technically placed her in breach of the rules of racing, something Hayley entirely accepts. 

"There were a total of 164 such bets over a period of approximately 18 months, with a median average stake of £10 and a mean average stake of £18.62, which generated a total profit of £160."

Struthers added: “Hayley has co-operated fully with the BHA and has been transparent and honest throughout. 

"The BHA has confirmed to Hayley’s representatives that beyond the rule breaches themselves, it has no further integrity concerns over the bets or Hayley herself. Hayley is absolutely devastated at her mistake and deeply embarrassed and sorry for it. Her hearing is scheduled for next Thursday, December 14.”

Neither Turner nor the BHA was prepared to comment.

The penalty range for a professional licensed jockey found in breach of the rule that covers placing a bet is three months to ten years. But these are guidelines only, and the independent disciplinary panel can impose penalties at their discretion – they do not have to impose a minimum of three months, rather it is just a starting point for their consideration.

Turner shared the champion apprentice title in 2005 with Saleem Golan and subsequently became the first female jockey to ride 100 winners in Britain, in 2008.

She won two midsummer Group 1 sprints in 2011, on Dream Ahead in the July Cup and Margot Did in the Nunthorpe, but announced her retirement at the age of 32 at the end of the turf season in 2015.

Since then she has built a media career, working first for At The Races, and then becoming part of the new ITV racing team that succeeded Channel 4 at the end of last year.

While on air Turner, along with colleagues including former top jockey Jason Weaver, has often referred to her winning and losing bets, underlining the seemingly unwitting nature of her rule breach. It is understood ITV is fully supportive of Turner and that Wednesday's news will not affect its relationship with her.

Last year Turner was called up for the all-female team in the Shergar Cup, riding Early Morning to win the Shergar Cup Mile and having a handful of rides in other professional races in warming up for the Ascot event.

After describing that as a one-off, she was back race-riding this year, linking up with Michael Bell, who she has been riding out for along with James Fanshawe in Newmarket, as well as riding in the Shergar Cup again.

She also hit the headlines when putting her experience to good use in the pro-am silk series for female riders, and more recently has been making the most of the 2kg allowance for women jockeys in France brought in this year, establishing herself there over the last few months.

And only last weekend Turner became the first woman to win a professional race open to male and female riders in Mauritius in its 205-year racing history. 

While awaiting next week's hearing she can continue to ride, including in France, should she choose to do so.

If you are interested in this story, you may also like to read:

'Retirement has done me good – when I'm riding I feel excited'

Turner rules out riding in Silk Series again after controversial win

Turner making hay but Royer-Dupre hits out at racing 'lottery'

Turner concentrating on TV work after Bro Park brings her back down to earth

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Hayley has co-operated fully with the BHA and has been transparent and honest throughout

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Hayley Turner
E.W. Terms
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