JOCKEYS’ CHAMPIONSHIP GOES DOWN TO THE WIRE / 09 Nov 07
Titanic duel between Seb Sanders and Jamie Spencer to be decided on the final day of the Flat Season
New Perpetual trophies for Champion Jockey, Trainer and Owner to be presented at Doncaster on Saturday
The 2007 Flat Jockeys’ Championship has witnessed the closest battle for 20 years, and will be decided at the final meeting of the season, at Doncaster tomorrow.
Seb Sanders, seeking his first Jockeys’ title, ended the afternoon fixture at Musselburgh on Friday on a total of 188 for the season, one winner ahead of Jamie Spencer, Champion Jockey in 2005, though both have five rides at Wolverhampton’s evening meeting on Friday.
Between them they have had over 2000 rides since the season began on the day of the Lincoln Handicap, 31 March.
Should Sanders and Spencer end Saturday afternoon with the same number of winners, they will be declared joint champions – something that has not happened in Flat racing since 1923.
Earlier this year, perpetual silver trophies were commissioned for the first time for British Horseracing’s Champion Flat Jockey, Owner and Trainer, engraved with previous champions back to 1840 in the case of the jockeys’ trophy. All three will be presented at Doncaster throughout tomorrow afternoon, with Channel 4 Racing and At The Races both covering the meeting.
The Champion Owner’s title is also up for grabs, with Godolphin currently top by around £45,000. However, should results go his way, Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum will be able to claim the title for the seventh time. He is represented by Heaven Knows in the totesport.com November Handicap at Doncaster, and has three other runners on the card, although Godolphin also has a strong hand.
Aidan O’Brien will be crowned Champion Trainer in Britain for the first time since 2002. His total prize money of almost £3.5m puts him nearly £1m clear of his nearest rival, Sir Michael Stoute.
Greg Fairley, based with trainer Mark Johnston, will be 2007’s Champion Apprentice Jockey.
British Horseracing Authority Chief Executive Nic Coward said: “The tussle between Seb Sanders and Jamie Spencer has lit up the 2007 Flat season. They are two of the finest exponents of their trade and have raised Racing’s profile through their dedication and sportsmanship.”
Josh Apiafi, Chief Executive of the Jockeys Association of Great Britain, said: “The to-ing and fro-ing of this season’s title race between Seb and Jamie has been amazing and makes the fight to win the Barclays Premier League in football look boring!
“I was glued to the TV watching Wolverhampton on Thursday evening and this duel is capturing the imagination of more than just our incumbent racing audience.”
The previous ties in the Flat Jockeys’ Championship were as follows:
1871 – George Fordham and Charlie Maidment
1923 – Steve Donoghue and Charlie Elliott