Dunwoody rides to season's end

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The Independent Online
Richard Dunwoody yesterday did his best to scotch speculation about his future. The champion National Hunt jockey told listeners of the Pipeline, Martin Pipe's premium-rate telephone service, that he will ride on until the end of the jumps season and suggested that they should back him to retain his title.

Dunwoody was responding to questions put by Pipe's assistant, Chester Barnes, who attempted to get the jockey's reaction to persistent talk about his future. The rumour reached a pitch on Wednesday when William Hill suspended betting on the jockeys' championship following an avalanche of bets for Adrian Maguire which they believed indicated Dunwoody would not continue the defence of his title. Gossip suggested that he might split with Pipe, take a holiday after the Grand National or even retire.

But Dunwoody retorted yesterday: "I am definitely riding to the end of the season and I certainly won't be dictated to by what the media has to say about any of this. You might get a decent price about me at the moment."

After discussing yesterday's rides at Chepstow, which included four losing rides on Pipe-trained horses, Barnes returned to the subject, asking Dunwoody again if he was definitely riding to the end of the season.

"That's what it looks like," Dunwoody said.

"What do you mean `what it looks like' - you are?" pressed Barnes.

"That's what I said, yes," was the reply.

At the end of the interview, Barnes remarked, "That was Richard Dunwoody being as definite as Richard Dunwoody can be. He plays his cards very close to his chest."

William Hill, however, are not re-opening betting on the title. The company's spokesman, David Hood, said: "The market is too volatile, so we are holding a watching brief."

n Jenny Pitman is to run six horses in the Grand National on Saturday week. Mrs Pitman, the only woman trainer to have won the race, through Corbiere in 1983, will be represented by Do Be Brief, Lusty Light, Royal Athlete, Superior Finish, Garrison Savannah and the winner of the void 1993 race, Esha Ness.