Hayley Turner: An American Dreamer

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Jockey Hayley Turner riding the horse I'm a Dreamer

On Saturday 12th August, Hayley Turner broke new grounds again when becoming the first British female jockey to win an International Group or Grade 1 when landing the Beverly D Stakes at Arlington on I’m A Dreamer. In this week’s blog, Hayley looks back on that success from eight years ago.

As an apprentice, I’ve always spent a lot of time in America. Before I went to Michael Bell’s, I was in a pre-training centre in South Georgia. I also was sent out to America for 3 months when I was an apprentice at Michael Bell’s to work for Tom Amoss at the Fairgrounds in New Orleans. Amoss is a master trainer over in America who has won 9 leading trainer titles, amassed more than $100 million in prize money over the years and last year won the Kentucky Oaks with Serengeti Empress. I learned plenty over there from my time there, riding track work behind the scenes for him.

Serengeti Empress wins the 2019 Kentucky Oaks for Tom Amoss, a trainer Turner rode track work for as an apprentice

Although I’m A Dreamer herself was a filly I’d only ridden once, I had won on her which helped me get the ride. I knew the owner Andrew Stone quite well and I had also ridden a Group 1 on Dream Ahead just under a year before for the trainer David Simcock so given I was out in Arlington, it all came together nicely and I got the ride on her.

I’m A Dreamer had a fairly busy season leading up to the race running in the Middleton Stakes (York), Brigadier Gerard Stakes (Sandown) and Pretty Polly Stakes running with promise on each start but not quite having things go her way.

The horse I'm a Dreamer finishes third in a race
I’m A Dreamer (right) finishing behind 3rd to Izzi Top in the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes on her last start before the Beverly D.

She seemed to thrive from travelling which some horses do. I spoke recently to Alice Haynes who travelled I’m A Dreamer out to Arlington and she spoke through the process of flying a horse to the USA. Firstly, she was flown out to Amsterdam around 9/10 days before the race to spend a night in quarantine. From there, she was flown out with all the other international horses. When they arrive, they are settled into an international barn by the track. They then have a few days to get used to their surroundings and settled in and get their body clocks acclimatised.

Two days before the race, she did her last piece of work on the track. In America, they have a huge amount of media that are there jotting down the times of the horses working – they are much more focussed around times over there. It was quite a gentle bit of work so to the clock, it wasn’t particularly impressive but for David and the team, it was very satisfactory! As a result, she was probably more of an underdog than she should have been.

It was a brilliant training performance by David to get her there in such good form. She had a pretty smooth passage the whole way round before quickening to the front. There were horses closing on her but she really toughed it out to stick her neck out. It was such a brilliant feeling to have a plan like that come together and I was thrilled to win it for Andrew and David and the whole team at home.

I’m A Dreamer wins the Beverly D Stakes at Arlington

It was certainly a very enjoyable flight back with everyone…

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