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Irish eyes on Gold Cup ride


Irish eyes on Gold Cup ride

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THIS YEAR’S Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup is just around the corner and plans for the Caribbean’s most prestigious horse race are already in motion.

MIDWEEK SPORTS has been informed that Hopefield Stables have contracted Irishmen Tom Queally and Jamie Spencer to their team for the big event come March 7.

Both Queally and Spencer are no strangers to the Garrison Savannah as they both competed in last year’s second edition of the Barbados Winter Jockey Challenge Raceday on November 22.

It was back then that having heard so much about the Gold Cup, Queally expressed an interest to the connections of the Christ Church-based outfit about returning to participate in the big race.

Around that time Spencer was still contemplating his announced intended retirement from the saddle at year-end. Having thought long and hard, he aborted the idea to leave the saddle at such a young age.

He sought an opportunity to have another shot at winning the Gold Cup by trying to secure a ride for Hopefield, the most successful stable in Gold Cup history – having won seven races.

Queally, age 30, who is famous for his 14 unbeaten joy rides aboard Frankle, will have the leg up on Daunting David whom he rode to fourth place in last year’s Diamonds International/Crown of Light Boxing Day Stakes over 1 570 metres.

Meanwhile, the 34-year-old Spencer’s first appearance in the Gold Cup was back in 2011 when he rode Kittitian representative Bad Action to a seventh-place finish. This time around, the journeyman has been contracted to partner Aristodemus, winner of the 2013 Gold Cup.

Youngest to win classic race

His experience of winning two British Championships and being the youngest jockey to win a classic race in Ireland will definitely be needed to enhance Aristodemus’ chances in the 1 800 metres event.

Trainer Liz Deane can’t ask for any better assistance from the stirrups for her charges as her third entry Marcus Antonius will remain united with the stable’s first call rider, eight-time champion jockey Anderson Trotman.

Another win will push Hopefield’s silverware tally to eight, having won with Bentom, 1986, Sandford Prince, 1989, 1991 and 1992, Chou Chou Royale, 1993 in (Lady Seale’s colours), Dancing David, 2012 and Aristodemus, 2013.

For Deane, it will be win No. 4, having scored two one-two finishes, first in 2007 with Whiskey For Me and Who’s Wavering , then in 2012 as John Brian had followed Dancin David home before Aristodemus secured her next win.

From the riders’ standpoint, Trotman won this race in 2005 aboard Feet On Flames and Aristodemus.

It will be doubly sweet for Queally or Spencer should either be successful, as not since the inaugural running of the Gold Cup has an Irishman won this race. Declan Gillispie did so in 1982 aboard Trinidad and Tobago representative Bold Lewis.