Tag Archive for: Jamie Spencer

Great Britain and Ireland storm to Shergar Cup glory at Ascot

Great Britain and Ireland dominated the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup at Ascot, winning five of the eight races to claim the trophy for the first time since 2017.

The home team, who finished over 50 points clear of defending champions the Ladies in second, had the multi-team event wrapped up before the last – but the race for the Alistair Haggis Silver Saddle awarded to the leading rider went right down to the wire.

Jamie Spencer had earlier ridden a double on the card, but was matched by teammate Neil Callan, who only had to finish in the points in the finale but ended the day in style by scoring aboard Adaay In Asia to add to his earlier victory aboard Orbaan.

Shergar Cup Meeting – Saturday August 6th
Neil Callan celebrates after winning the Dubai Duty Free Full Of Surprises Classified Stakes on board Orbaan (John Walton/PA)

Team captain Spencer said: “Everyone is happy and it was good fun. I think everyone enjoyed themselves. It has been a good day.

“I looked at the paper last night and thought we had some good chances. Sometimes it doesn’t materialise like that, but Themaxwecan was an outsider yesterday evening and he ended up being a 9-1 chance.

“The Shergar Cup has been going 20-odd years, so if it has been going that long, it generally works. If it doesn’t, it won’t last that long.

“It is a family day out. Maybe it is not for the purist, but they put good prize-money on and if the owners are happy they are getting paid well to run their horses.

“So, what more can you want. The jockeys like it – it is just a nice day at work.”

Joanna Mason, riding as a replacement for Hollie Doyle, got the Ladies team off to the perfect start when steering William Haggas’ Amanzoe to victory in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Curtain Raiser Classified Stakes.

“It’s a long old straight here, isn’t it?!,” said Mason.

“She was brilliant and gave me a great feel. I was coming down here just hoping I could do everything right and do the girls proud.”

Haggas said: “She won very nicely and has been given a perfect ride.

“One of the reasons the Shergar Cup is so successful is that it gives everyone a chance to meet a few foreign jockeys.

“It is a real global event and it is terrific that the girls have got a good start. Jo has proven that, given the right ammunition, she is just as good as anyone.”

He added of his winner: “I think we have to go to stakes races now. She has won off 90 today and will go up to about 94 of 95. She likes fast ground, though. She has had five runs in about five weeks, it seems. We will have to think about whether she has a break or not.”

Haggas, who saddled a treble, was a mainstay of the Great Britain and Ireland success with his Pride Of Priory landing the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Challenge and Hamaki bringing home the trophy when landing the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Classic in the hands of Spencer.

Shergar Cup Meeting – Saturday August 6th
Hamaki (centre) ridden by Jamie Spencer comes home to win The Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Classic during the Shergar Cup Meeting at Ascot Racecourse (John Walton/PA)

The Shergar Cup’s two most experienced jockeys fought out the finish of the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Dash as Hayley Turner aboard the 7-2 favourite Manaccan just held on from the Frankie Dettori-ridden Judicial for Europe.

The two-time Silver Saddle winner was enjoying her ninth winner in the event – making her the winning-most rider – and gave the Ladies their second win.

“It is so good to get a winner here. The Ladies have had a good start so far,” she said.

“John Ryan rang me the other day and said he quite fancied Manaccan. It really did go smoothly.”

There was then a third victory for the ladies and a fourth Shergar Cup winner for Emma-Jayne Wilson when she guided Jessica Harrington’s Jungle Cove (14-1) to victory in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Mile.

Given a patient ride from the Canadian, the five-year-old was pushed out for an easy success.

Harrington said: “It was the first time I have had a runner in the Shergar Cup and it was a fairytale ending.

“I’m thrilled with him. I was delighted when he got in, because he needed four or five to come out. He will go on any ground – he is just one of those horses.

“I’m all for the team concept. I am delighted we got a win for the girls. It was very well planned.”

Artorius pleases in Newmarket spin before July Cup bid

Jamie Spencer teamed up with his Darley July Cup mount Artorius on the July Course on Friday morning.

The Australian sprinter, trained by Anthony and Sam Freedman, finished with a late flourish in the Platinum Jubilee to claim third behind the Godolphin duo of Naval Crown and Creative Force.

Unlike his compatriot and King’s Stand winner Nature Strip, Artorius has stayed in the UK in an attempt to become the first Australian winner of the race.

He worked with the Harry Eustace-trained Ancient Times, with the pair finishing upsides after four furlongs.

“The work went really well. They just went four furlongs and quickened up the last 400 yards. He really started to hit top gear the last 100 yards,” said Sam Freedman.

“A really good part of his attitude is that he never overdoes it and he conserves his energy. That was as good as I’ve seen him work for a while. He seemed to handle the track well enough.

“If anything he has probably improved a tad for the run as he hadn’t run since March. He is now in an established routine and we hope he can improve again on his next start.

“The stiffer the finish at Newmarket will be better for him as that is when he is doing his best work and horses up on the speed are tiring.

“A slightly smaller field is probably not as ideal as I do think he does enjoying being among them but if they go a good tempo, which they usually do over here, then he can settle and finish off well.”

Menuisier could be tempted by Irish Derby with Lionel

Lionel broke his maiden and in the process opened up a wealth of big-race options – including the Irish Derby – with victory in the British Stallion Studs EBF Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood.

Trained by David Menuisier, the Lope De Vega colt had caught the eye when third on his reappearance at Newbury behind Natural World.

He had been declared for the Lingfield Derby Trial but his trainer felt the ground was too quick there and decided to bide his time.

That now looks a smart move, as despite being friendless in the market at 17-2 in a field of just six, Lionel, who was outpaced at halfway, demonstrated stamina in abundance at the finish for Jamie Spencer.

Frankie Dettori attempted to dictate matters from the front on the heavily-backed Aldous Huxley, but he was challenged on all sides by Lysander and Maksud.

Just as if it looked like Dettori’s mount had done enough, Lionel’s stamina kicked in late in the day and he won going away by a neck with half a length back to the William Haggas-trained Lysander.

“I am emotional because I thought he was beaten two (furlongs) out,” said Menuisier.

“The form of the yard coming into this was not brilliant. A lot of people talk about statistics. When you train racehorses, you don’t want to look at statistics too much. We have been proving for long enough that we are not too bad at training racehorses.

“He had no luck at Newbury. We lost the race at the start. He went into the stalls and it was all new to him. Now he knows how to win and hopefully he will keep going.

Trainer David Menuisier has a nice prospect
Trainer David Menuisier has a nice prospect (Edward Whitaker/PA)

“The plan was to ride him a bit handier, but he couldn’t be handier.

“I don’t regret taking him out of the Derby – I am going to win with Sir Bob Parker – the main reason why we took him out of the Derby, and obviously it was a concerted discussion, was because we feel he is probably too weak mentally to handle the prelims. He is too immature. I don’t want to frighten him.

“We want to bring him on gradually. I think he is a very good horse, I have always said that, but he wants to be a grown up to win at Epsom and he is not.

“He is in at Royal Ascot and he is in the Irish Derby and he is in the Grand Prix de Paris in July. I think he will handle any ground. I don’t want it to be too quick on unconventional tracks. On a nice, big galloping track, he will be fine. On unconventional tracks, he wants a bit of cut in the ground to counter the cambers and undulations.

“At the moment, when I say Ascot, I can’t write off the Queen’s Vase. I can’t write off the King Edward VII and can’t write off the Irish Derby.

“Doncaster in September (St Leger) is a good possibility. The dam (Gretchen) won a Group Two (Park Hill Stakes) there and he will stay well in time. But he has got pace to win over one mile and four. I think the Curragh over one mile four sounds like a good idea. He is entered in the Arc and entered everywhere.”

The connections of Lysander were not too down heartened by his display back in third.

“He wasn’t beaten too far and we are mulling over what we do next. It wasn’t a bad run, but the ground was too soft for him. He had a hard race, but I would hold on to those Derby tickets a while longer. We will see how he takes this,” said Harry Herbert, managing director of owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing.

Spencer hopes compromise can be reached in weights clash

Jamie Spencer believes a compromise between the British Horseracing Authority and jockeys can be reached over the planned 2lb rise in weights set to be introduced in the spring.

The BHA announced on Tuesday that the current 3lb allowance introduced as a temporary Covid-19 measure back in June 2020 will be replaced by a permanent 2lb rise in the weights, with a further 3lb allowed for safety equipment and 1lb for Flat riders in winter to allow for extra warm clothing.

The decision has prompted fierce criticism from some in the weighing room who are unhappy to have the allowance effectively reduced by 1lb in light of the news in November that saunas would no longer be part of the weighing room facilities.

The 2lb rise was agreed by the Racing Group, which includes cross-industry representation, and the BHA underlined on Wednesday that the process “followed to implement these changes included consultation with jockeys, through multiple meetings with the Professional Jockeys Association”.

Jamie Spencer is one of the most experienced jockeys in the weighing room
Jamie Spencer is one of the most experienced jockeys in the weighing room (Mike Egerton/PA)

Spencer, a senior member of the weighing room whose career has spanned more than 20 years, thinks the extra allowance has proved a huge plus for the health of riders.

He said: “The way I look at most things is, ‘the less said, easier mended’, so I generally don’t comment on things, but I do feel this hasn’t been thought out.

“In my mind, the weighing room was a lot happier place when jockeys had the 6lb. It doesn’t affect me probably as much as some other riders.

“I see them and they are not taking shortcuts. They are doing their level best and training every day to get to their weight and with the 3lb, it obviously made it a lot easier.”

Under the revised system the top weight in a Flat race will now be 10st 2lb, with Spencer insisting most horses would be unaffected by heavier imposts.

He added: “As regard for horse welfare, an extra 3lb, for example a horse carrying 9st 8lb versus carrying 9st 5lb, I don’t think that argument holds up very strong.

“Show me a horse in the morning carrying less than 10st. The riding-out equipment is a lot heavier in the morning.

“I just think that if it’s not broken, don’t fix it – I just don’t get why this has happened.

“It is disappointing. I usually let things go along and never comment, but I do feel strongly about this.

“You look at the weighing room. There are kids in there who are like giants coming towards me. The average height and weight must be going up.

“I just think the powers that be and the PJA need to sit down and thrash this out. Who in their right mind would have voted to give away 3lb?

“It is small things. You are more hydrated if you are 3lb heavier – it is better for you.

“I am sure a compromise can happen. I didn’t even know this was happening until the media did.

“It will affect me, but it will affect a lot of people more than me. I’m not saying it in a selfish way, I’m just saying it as an overall view, for the collective, that I hope they can come to a reasonable solution where everyone is happy.”

Former champion NH jockey Brian Hughes has had his say
Former champion NH jockey Brian Hughes has had his say (Mike Egerton/PA)

Former champion jump jockey Brian Hughes admits the 2lb rise in weights will make little difference to him personally, but is worried about the welfare implications of increasing the top weight in National Hunt races to 12st.

He said: “I’ve not got a lot of thoughts on it, to be honest. I’m not the heaviest person in the world, so I’m the wrong person to ask.

“I do feel, however, the top-weight going up to 12st doesn’t make much sense to me. I can understand why the bottom weights are going up, I’ve no issue with that, but for me the top-weight should stay at 11st 12lb.

“It’s a welfare thing. Trainers don’t want horses carrying lots of weight.”

Ice-cool Spencer produces Bedouin’s Story to perfection

Bedouin’s Story benefitted from a textbook Jamie Spencer ride to snatch victory in the bet365 Cambridgeshire at Newmarket.

Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, Bedouin’s Story was a 40-1 chance after being out of luck since winning in Dubai back in January, but he eventually ran out a clear-cut victor.

The 26 runners split into two groups across the track with Jean Baptiste heading the far side group, while leading fancy Uncle Bryn was among those on the stands rail, along with the eventual winner.

The gambled-on joint-favourite Anmaat looked likely when grabbing the lead a furlong from home – but Spencer was making stealthy progress in behind, picking off his rivals and edging to the lead in sight of the post.

Spencer punched the air in celebration as he came home three-quarters of a length in front of Anmaat, with Ametist finishing third at 22-1, with all three racing up the stands side. Zozimus at 100-1 fared best of those on the far side in fourth.

Bin Suroor said: “We have been running this horse over a mile and he always misses the break. He missed the break in Dubai with Frankie (Dettori), but was still able to win the race.

“I thought running over nine furlongs could help him. I told Jamie to get him to relax and that is his style – it was the right jockey for the right horse.

“I thought he could do something today. He could come back here for the Darley Stakes.”

Spencer said: “I sit beside Frankie (in the weighing room) and he’s ridden him and won on him in Dubai. He just told me to keeping filling him up and if he’s in a good mood he’ll come good at halfway.

“I always felt I was going quite well. Even though Jim (Crowley, on Anmaat) got the jump on me three out, I knew I had loads of horse and it was just a case of if the gap came.

“There was a gap between Frankie and David Probert and if it closed I was cooked, but it stayed open thankfully. All these little things help.”

Ad Infinitum surprises Height Of Fashion field

David Simcock’s Ribblesdale entry Ad Infinitum caused a 25-1 surprise when benefiting from a classic Jamie Spencer ride in the Height Of Fashion Stakes at Goodwood.

The daughter of Golden Horn had only been seen once before in public when she ran a race full of promise to be beaten just a length and a half by Martyn Meade’s highly-regarded Gloucestershire.

Dropped out as usual by Spencer, she cut through the field with two furlongs to run and looked set to win easily.

However, the meeting had to survive an inspection due to high winds and just as she was about to hit the front, Ad Infinitum was visibly buffeted by a gust of wind and Spencer had to gather her up once more.

It was to her credit that she went on to beat Lady Hayes by a length, with Aura Blue back in third.

Simcock said: “We felt this was a good opportunity as she may have been in a Listed race, but was up against maiden winners.

“Jamie looked after her first time out and didn’t give her a smack and she’d delighted us since then. She’s not here because she hadn’t shown anything, she’s obviously quite talented.

“Jamie was the first to admit he got to the front plenty soon enough today and they were hit with a proper gust of wind, but in the circumstances, she held her action well to the line.

“I’m not sure about the Ribblesdale, I’ll discuss it with the owner and we’ll see.”