Turner repeats Sandringham surprise as Onassis prevails

Horse Racing

Another piece of history for ground-breaking rider.

Jockey Hayley Turner and trainer Charlie Fellowes sprang a 33-1 surprise in the Sandringham Stakes for the second year running when Onassis delivered the goods.

Thanks Be supplied the shock 12 months ago and the same combination served up another stunner in this handicap for three-year-old fillies.

Turner produced Onassis from stall one on the previously unfavoured part of the track to hit the front and land a cosy triumph by a length and a quarter from Waliyak.

Turner was only the second female rider to win at the Royal meeting when successful last year, to emulate Gay Kelleway in 1987.

She said: “It was the plan to repeat last year’s tactics. It was a testing mile today so I was able to tuck her in and let her find her feet, she did it really well.

“For us nothing really changes, it’s still great to have a Royal Ascot winner whether people are here or not.”

Last year’s victory garnered plenty of media interest given it was the first female success in the saddle for 32 years.

The Group One-winning rider went on: “We don’t want a female winning at Royal Ascot to be a special event, we want it to be a common occurrence. I’m so proud watching Hollie (Doyle) winning more often than not.

“There’s so many girls in the changing room now compared to what there was so it is inevitable others will win, it is just going to take time.

“I don’t mean to feel like a mentor to the girls, but I’m the oldest and then next it is Josephine (Gordon) who is more than 10 years younger than me so I think I’ll have to accept that I am!

“What is nice is that I’m still able to ride at the top level and show them that I can still ride a bit.”

Celebration time for Hayley Turner
Celebration time for Hayley Turner (Edward Whitaker)

Fellowes said of his winner: “I had to persuade the owners, who were desperate to run her in a Listed race last weekend in search of black type as she’s got an outstanding pedigree, so I’m very grateful to them for letting me run here.

“I begged them to have a crack at this, I thought it looked the perfect race and that the stiff mile would really suit her. I’ve been wrong about everything else today, but for once I was right which is a relief.

“She loves being ridden patiently, another reason I thought Ascot would suit. I was a little concerned about the ground, but I shouldn’t have been as she’s by Dubawi and they go on anything,

“We’ve won it two years in a row, she ran off the same weight as Thanks Be, a similarly awful draw but luckily that proved wrong, so it’s special.

“Ascot tames tigers. We thought we had some really good chances elsewhere today, but luckily Hayley saved the day.”

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