It was fun to ride those three Group One winners but, as it turns out, the greatest moment of fulfilment in the career of Hayley Turner came when, after 11 previous attempts, she finally won the Silver Saddle for top jockey at the Shergar Cup here on Saturday. Lots of riders enjoy taking part in this unusual, amazingly successful competition but no one has done more for its profile than Turner, who calls it her favourite day of the year and has taken part even more times than Frankie Dettori.
Up to now, her strike-rate here had been respectable and she had already racked up more points than anyone else but had never been top jockey in any one year. Not only did she achieve that at last but she was immediately congratulated by one of her idols, the musician Example, who was performing after the racing and gave her a backstage pass.
“I can’t believe it,” Turner said, seemingly star-struck but also ruing the fact that she had just got off her horse. “I met Example with sweaty hair.”
Delighted as she was for herself, Turner immediately shared the spotlight with her teammates, Josephine Gordon and Hollie Doyle, whose tally of 76 points gave the Girls team victory in this event for the second time in four years. Turner said: “We’re racing against the best jockeys around the world and we’ve beat them on level terms. Just saying.”
Judged by wins alone, the day belonged to Rio-born João Moreira, who rode here in 2013 but has since achieved superstar status in Hong Kong and been acclaimed as perhaps the best rider in the world. His two successes at the end of the card, achieved by narrow margins, were fine adverts for his skills and it is not impossible that British racegoers will see much more of him.
Asked if he would one day base himself in Britain, Moreira, who is currently planning a move into Japanese racing, said: “If the right opportunity presents, I will definitely consider it. I’ve got a lot of Brazilian friends living here, so there is plenty of things for me to consider.”
The weight of talent in the weighing room on Shergar Cup day does not always translate into effective jockeyship, as many of the riders are unfamiliar with the track and most are unfamiliar with their mounts. The third race, won by Andrasch Starke on Genetics, was perhaps the most Shergar Cup-looking race ever run, with eight of the 10 jockeys seeming to misjudge the pace.