Wigmore Hall wins the Northern Dancer for the second timePICTURE: Woodbine/Michael Burns Photography
Wigmore Hall on top again at Woodbine
Report: Canada, Sunday
Woodbine: Northern Dancer Turf (Grade 1) 1m4f, turf, 3yo+
WIGMORE HALL (Michael Bell/Jamie Spencer) produced a brave performance to complete back-to-back successes in the Northern Dancer Turf at Woodbine in Toronto on Sunday night.
The five-year-old, who had not tasted victory since his triumph in the race 12 months ago, held on gamely to outbattle 3-1 favourite Al Khali and the former Luca Cumani-trained Forte Dei Marmi.
After a slowish start, Wigmore Hall was given a typically quiet Jamie Spencer ride, racing towards the rear before moving up on the far turn and then being produced to challenge in the stretch. Sent off 3.7-1, Mark Hawtin's son of High Chaparral got the better of a final-furlong duel with Al Khali by a neck to claim the $500,000 event.
"He's one of my favourites - he tries really hard," said Spencer, who had earlier missed a Grade 2 winner when he could not do the weight on Barefoot Lady, who took the Canadian Stakes for Richard Fahey.
"I probably got there sooner than I wanted to, because he doesn't do a whole pile when he's in front. He hasn't won since this race last year, and Michael Bell and his team did a great job training him, getting him back in good form."
Bell was understandably delighted with the effort, tweeting shortly afterwards: "So pleased for Wigmore Hall back-to-back wins at Woodbine. #whatastar."
"He loves Canada, especially," said assistant trainer Gillian Dolman, doing the honours in Toronto. "He's not so great on the soft turf, but he loved the conditions here today."