Racing: Spencer plans to restart career in Britain

The curious tale of the disappearing Ballydoyle stable jockey produced another intriguing chapter yesterday.

On his first mounts since relinquishing perhaps the most high-profile riding post in world racing, Jamie Spencer outlined the great job he had made last season of riding the horses trained by Aidan O'Brien.

This followed comments from John Magnier, who is considered a godfather by many but actually holds that guardian function with Spencer. The head of the Ballydoyle/Coolmore axis said he was "disappointed" to have lost his young ward.

With so many happy campers around, it seemed almost churlish to point out that Spencer had either felt too pressured to continue or had resigned as an alternative to being sacked.

Whatever the reality, Spencer's tenure of just one season represents a failure for both himself and the team which appointed him in the first place.

The succession is no less intriguing. The initial suggestion was that Johnny Murtagh, who has enjoyed no little success on the Ballydoyle horses, notably on the Classic winners Rock Of Gibraltar and High Chaparral, was the raging favourite.

Then came a huge run on the betting exchange Betfair on Darryll Holland. Punters may have latched on to Holland's absence of denial that he had been approached, as well as his decision to cut short his contract in Hong Kong. Two and two put together made 1-3 on Betfair. It seemed Holland's tack was already on its way over the Irish Sea. Almost as soon, however, came a thaw and, by last night, Murtagh was again favourite.

Spencer was bountiful in his praise of Ballydoyle's principal owners, Magnier and Michael Tabor, but less fulsome about O'Brien, who is known to have banged heads with Spencer's predecessor, Michael Kinane. The latest departing jockey, at the age of 24, has plenty of time to rebuild a career, which is, temporarily at least, lying in smouldering debris.

There was not much meat yesterday to add to the skeleton of Spencer's announcement, and the most positive information was that his reconstruction will take place in Britain rather than his native Ireland.

"I had been thinking about it for a while and in the end it was personal and professional things," Spencer said. "Peace of mind is a lot in life, no matter how much money you have. I rode well last season, but every jockey will say they can ride better, even if they won every race.

"I have known Mr Magnier since I was 10, and still am friends with his sons. Sometimes he is portrayed as a tough man, but I have never seen any side but the nice side of him. There was never any pressure from him, and it was the same with Mr Tabor. I look forward to riding for them in the future.

"I have had a great response from the trainers I have ridden for before, like David Loder and Luca Cumani, who said they would give me rides. I am young and I never tired of going up and down the motorway because I was fortunate enough to ride lots of horses every day, and it was enjoyable. I think I've come out a tougher person. I've learned more about life, and that there is more to life than horses."

* Timmy Murphy is to miss the Racing Post Chase meeting at Kempton this month after picking up a seven-day ban at Ludlow yesterday for his riding of Oasis Banus. The stewards decided Murphy had failed to take all steps to ensure his horse obtained the best possible placing.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory