Sensational finish to jockeys championship

Across channel what a finish to the Flat and the jockeys championship on Saturday at Doncaster. England’s Seb Sanders led by one from Tipperary’s Jamie Spencer going into the final day of the Flat season.    Saunders made it 2 up when winning the 2nd race on Incomparable but Spencer pegged one back aboard Generous Thought. Saunders, with Borderlescott, looked to have made 2 up with two to go but was caught on the line by Gaelota and beaten a short head. He was second again in the penultimate race but Spencer showing nerves of steel played a waiting game on the favourite Inchnadamph in the final race of the season and when he finally asked his horse to go on 2 furlongs out he appeared to sprout wings and flew home, one of the easiest winners of the day.   It was a great result for racing as neither jockey, both of whom traveled the length and breadth of Britain seeking winners over the last few weeks, deserved to lose.    Both men rode 190 winners throughout the campaign, their battle going down to the final hurdle. Well done lads.   By the way Jamie’s father George trained the 1963 Cheltenham Champion Hurdler Winning Fair and Jamie himself won the Champion Bumper there in 2002 aboard Pizarro for Eddie O’Grady.    Here at home this week last Thursday jumping was the game in Thurles where the National Hunt season got into full swing. Sean Mulryan’s Forget The Past made a successful seasonal reappearance in the Thurles Chase. The Michael O’Brien trained runner jumped well throughout but Light On The Broom looked a winner until he hit the final fence.   Andrew Lynch then galvanized Forget The Past and the 7-4 joint favourite went on to win by a head from Ger Stacks charge ridden by R Power.   Our Ben, joint favourite, was third after making most of the running.   O’Brien also had some good news of Mulryan’s In Compliance. He is hoping that the gelding will reappear in the John Durkan Chase at Punchestown in December. Hopefully the cloud that has been over the yard has lifted and all the horses will return to form.   Trained in Co. Clare by John Hassett High Oscar, owned by The Big Deal Syndicate whose members include Sean Mulryan and Mick Bailey from Boho landed a nice touch, 10’s to 13/2, when winning the 2m 2f Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Chase by an easy length from Sportive. The 6-Y-O Oscar gelding under Martin Ferris never looked in danger from 2 out and the Roscommon lads collected.    In Limerick on Monday Union Gap owned by the Ceithre Contae Synd from around Kilglass was made joint favourite for the opening maiden hurdle but the Noel Meade trained Mister Lord gelding was only 5th under Paul Carberry. Keep an eye on him in the near future.   The new type of Easyfix synthetic hurdles, made in Loughrea, was used in racing under rules for the first time at Limerick on Monday and they were well received.     Irish racing this weekend is at Punchestown on Saturday and again on Sunday. Mallow also race on Sunday.   Across channel this weekend sees the Open Meeting at Cheltenham where Enda Bolger’s 14-year-old gelding Spot Thedifference is bidding for a fourth successive victory in the BGC Cross Country Chase tomorrow Friday.   He has won six times over the unique track and if the veteran does it for the 7th time the Irish will bring the house down.   Bolger says ‘He’s in great nick and his best form is on good ground so I wouldn’t be bothered if it rains or not. As long as it is safe he won’t mind it quick.   ‘He’s in great form anyway and I’m looking forward to running him’ said Bolger and this writer is looking forward to cheering him home.    Racing continues in the Cotswolds on Saturday and Sunday.    What a pity the powers that be cannot get it right with great National Hunt Racing taking place on both sides of the Irish Sea this weekend in Cheltenham and Punchestown. This is a clash that should be avoided in future as aficionados of the game would love to be at both meetings.   On the point to point scene another equine teenager the Roscommon Open winner Arctic Copper turned out again on Saturday at Maralin and again, in the very capable hands of Claire McMahon, the 13-Y-O obliged at odds of 5/2 winning for the 14th time beating Alert The Earth who fell at the last when delivering a challenge. Alert The Earth turned out again on Sunday and got compensation when he won a match in Miltown, Co. Kilkenny beating Ard Na Raithnigh owned by the Larkin family of Eyrecourt.   This weekend point to point racing takes place at Loughanmore, Co. Antrim on Saturday and at Clonmel and Gorey on Sunday. * Please forward any suggestions or comments on the column to the e-mail: