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Jockey Hayley Turner Quotes: Animal Rising ‘attention seekers’ need to get a life; Using the whip doesn’t hurt racehorses; Frustration of horse racing unfairly labelled as cruel

Hayley Turner
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In an exclusive interview with Bettingsites.co.uk, jockey Hayley Turner has weighed in on the fevered debate surrounding use of the whip in horse racing.

Turner, who is the most successful female jockey in history, also heavily criticised activist movement Animal Rising, who are campaigning against what they perceive to be cruelty in horse racing.

Interview Highlights:

  • Animal Rising blasted by former jockey –  for allegedly considering putting nails on Epsom race track
  • Using the whip doesn’t hurt racehorses
  • Racehorses are better cared for than dogs – it’s not cruel!


Horse Racing protestors need to get a life! Do something more productive

Turner’s livelihood could be risked by horse racing protestors and she didn’t hold back in her criticism of the likes of Animal Rising. Protestors ran on to the race track before the Epsom Derby, on a day which saw 12 people arrested at the event.

Hayley Turner: “At Epsom the protestors were allegedly talking about putting nails down on the track to stop the racing and it frustrates me. I think they did a great job of managing it at Ascot but it’s just a load of nonsense frankly. It’s a bunch of people attention seeking. The Just Stop Oil people jumping on snooker tables?”

“Get a life! Do something more productive. I’ll probably rattle a few cages by saying that but I don’t think using horse racing is a worthy way of making a point.”

Whipping racehorses causes them no pain but guidance and safety is paramount

One of the main criticisms of horse racing is jockeys whipping the animals as the sprint for the winning line but Turner is adamant that such actions cause little or no pain. She went into detail on how the whip is made and how the rules surrounding its use have changed.

Hayley Turner: “I can understand why people outside of racing might think that we’re battering the horse but if you saw a whip up close you’ll see that it’s cushioned and it’s been modified. There are so many rules now about hitting the horse in the right place and the number of times you can hit the horse. I think it’s good that the authorities are keeping safety at the forefront of their minds but I know the whip isn’t hurting the horse.”

Racehorses are fed the best food and have better care than my own dog

Top racehorses such as Noble Yeats have thousands of pounds spent on them every month as owners and trainers strive to keep them in peak condition. Turner says she can’t understand the mentality of people who chose to spend their time protesting against racing as opposed to a more worthy cause such as intensive farming.

Hayley Turner: “It’s a terrible shame it’s even come to this. We’re sat here in the yard and there’s a horse being bathed over there and they won’t even allow cold water on the horse’s back because it might not like it. So it’s having a warm, soapy bath and it’s being bedded down with a bag of shavings which cost a fortune because they’ve got no dust in them. They’re eating the best feed that money can buy and they’re being turned out and they’re just so well looked after. The horses love to race and you really couldn’t have them cared for any better. Even my dog Frank doesn’t get as much love as these horses do! It’s frustrating that racing gets painted as cruel because it’s absolutely not.”

Hayley Turner

Hayley Turner OBE is an English jockey born in Nottingham, who competes in flat racing. Hayley has won 8 Group races across her 15 year career, including two Group 1 races and a Grade 1 race. Other notable highlights from her career include becoming the first woman jockey to ride 100 UK flat race winners in a calendar year (2008). Hayley also won the July Cup and Nunthorpe Stakes races in 2011. She retired from racing in 2015 to pursue a career in racing commentary on ITV Racing. However, since 2018, Hayley has come out of retirement and has ridden three winners at Royal Ascot.