IN Racing
Turner building strong record
In-form jockey Dylan Turner is not one for sitting around.
NZ Racing Desk | November 22, 2021
Photo: Race Images

In-form jockey Dylan Turner is not one for sitting around.

The Palmerston North rider has made a good start to the 2020-21 season, riding home six winners from 41 starts – the latest being the impressive Vigor Winner in an open 1400m handicap at Awapuni.

But the 27-year-old has plenty on his plate away from racing, juggling race riding on the weekends with a building apprenticeship Monday to Friday, in addition to milking cows on a daily basis.

“I’m sort of flat out. I’m up at 3.30 every morning to milk cows, and then 6.30 to go building, and I don’t get home until about 6pm,” he said.

“It’s a big day, but my body’s coping with it quite well and I’m not having to worry about what I eat day in and day out. I’ve only got to look at my weight on a Thursday after work.

“Everyone knows I’m only riding weekends because I’m building through the week, but my riding is at a stage where I’m rapt with it.”

Turner stood aside from riding after the first COVID-19 lockdown, when his weight rose and wasting to ride didn’t feel like something he wanted to do.

It was at this time he took up his building apprenticeship in Palmerston North, considering it an alternative career option if he decided riding was something he no longer wanted to pursue.

“It’s something to fall back on,” he said. “If I did go back riding full-time after I finished my apprenticeship then I’ve always got that certificate to build if my body says I’m wasting too hard and it’s time to pack up.”

Turner is about halfway through that apprenticeship, but he decided earlier this year that he’d like to get back into riding.

“It’s been a while that I haven’t ridden a winner on the weekend, and coming back from the break proved just how confident I am on a horse and how aggressive I can be.”

Turner’s schedule is so busy that he doesn’t ride any work during the week, which normally makes it difficult to pick up rides. But he’s in such good form that he is getting nice horses to ride anyway, including Vigor Winner at Awapuni for visiting Cambridge trainer Lauren Brennan.

“That was my first ride for her team,” Turner said. “It was a nice win – he’s still got his quirks about him but going back through his form he’s always run good races so going into Saturday I was quite confident.

“He had a whole lot more to offer, but you don’t want to use him up too much with his next start in mind, so hopefully he can carry on with what he’s been doing.”

Turner has been well supported by trainers and said his greatest supporter has been Manawatu trainer Stephen Nickalls.

“We are always talking to each other about his horses. He’s been more like my best friend than a trainer,” he said.

With his building work shutting down for three weeks, Turner will be more available on racedays during the Christmas-New Year break, looking to ride 10 days during his 21-day break.

Turner will also use that period to decide whether he starts riding two days a week in 2022, which could see his building work move back to four days a week.

“I’m still up in the air whether I go back riding full-time once I finish my building apprenticeship,” he said.

“I’m going to have a good hard think about it over Christmas.”

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