Hayley Turner: Three-month ban for breach of betting rules is 'harsh'

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'Three-month ban is harsh & bitter pill to swallow'

Jockey Hayley Turner says her three-month ban for breaching British Horseracing Authority (BHA) betting rules is "harsh" and a "bitter pill to swallow".

British flat racing's most successful female jockey staked 164 bets - at a profit of £160 - over 18 months.

Turner, 34, retired in 2015 but kept her licence, so the bets technically placed her in breach of the rules.

"I spent my whole adult life putting into the sport," Turner told BBC Sport.

"It is a bitter pill to swallow," added Turner, who will not appeal the ban. "I accept there had to be some sort of punishment, I was in the wrong, but three months is quite harsh."

The ban includes France and lasts until 13 March 2018, but Turner will still be allowed to attend racecourses and continue her media work.

A BHA disciplinary panel "reluctantly concluded a fine wasn't enough".

Although the panel believed Turner had promoted racing "in a very positive way", it also noted her "lax and complacent attitude towards the rules of racing" and a "lack of awareness toward integrity".

Turner made the bets - which had an average stake of £18.62 - before returning to racing on a more regular basis earlier this year, Professional Jockeys' Association chief executive Paul Struthers said before Thursday's BHA enquiry.

He said she initially only retained her licence so she could take part in invitational events and "no longer saw herself as a jockey".

Turner added: "I have never had bet on my own horse and I have never bet in a race that I was riding in.

"It was just a stupid error that I have made. The BHA said themselves I am not a threat and integrity is not a concern."

Analysis

BBC horse racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght

Turner has become something of a 'golden girl' in what had been seen previously as a male-dominated sport.

She's been joint champion apprentice jockey, the first female rider in Britain to have 100 successes in a year, and she enjoyed a golden summer in 2011 wth two Group One race wins. Those exploits have been credited with encouraging more female jockeys.

Turner's lawyer asked for a fine - which is outside the recommended penalties - but instead the panel has imposed the minimum ban, well below the suggested 'entry point' of 18 months.

This is a blow to her reputation. Not because anyone seriously thinks she's some kind of mad punter, but because she's a senior figure who should have known the rules.

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