The jockey Sammy Jo Bell has retired from racing, at the age of 27.
Relatively under the radar until 2015, Bell shot to prominence after riding two winners in the 2015 Shergar Cup at Ascot. The team competition, named after the 1981 Derby Winner pits various teams against each other, and in 2015 the team “Girls” were victorious after the weekend’s racing.
As the star performer, Bell was named the “silver saddle” winner. She remains the only woman bestowed with this honour.
Attached to Richard Fahey’s stable, Bell would undergo a serious accident in May 2016, whilst racing at Carlisle. As Royal Duchess unseated Bell then fell backwards onto her, the injuries sustained were significant enough to warrant surgery and extensive time in a wheelchair.
Despite returning to action in January 2017, further rehabilitation and surgery has prompted the Shergar Cup champion to pursue other boulevards of life.
Speaking of her decision, Bell said:
It’s a big decision, but something I have been thinking about for quite a while, since I had the pins out of my pelvis in October. I thought about it during my rehabilitation and thought it was for the best.
I’ve always ridden, I grew up with horses and have worked in racing since I was 18. It’s all I’ve known. I still love racing and horses. I want to do something in the sport and I’ve got a summer placement with York racecourse, starting in April.