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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Harvey keen on a final-furlong tussle with fellow Legend Gibson

Dale Gibson is seeking to win the Leger Legends race for the second time after his win on Bob in 2014
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3.50 Doncaster
Clipper Logistics Leger Legends Classified Stakes | 1m | ATR

Not only has former star lightweight jockey Dale Gibson been instrumental in the ongoing organisation of the Leger Legends race, he is also the only person to have taken part in all seven past runnings. Aboard Mustaqbal, a horse far from without a chance, he takes his unbroken record to eight from eight.

Since its inception in 2010 the straight mile contest - which pulls in considerable sums of money for the Injured Jockeys Fund's Jack Berry House and Northern Racing College - has quickly become the established highlight of the St Leger festival's opening afternoon.

This year the event features 70-year-old George Duffield, Luke Harvey, Ian Mongan and recently-retired jump jockey Brian Harding.

Also returning to the weighing room is Jamie Mackay, whose father Allan - himself a Leger Legend in 2012 - has been helped by the IJF since suffering paralysis in a gallops fall earlier this year.

"I've ridden in it since day one, so I'm a glutton for punishment," said Professional Jockeys Association executive director Gibson, who won the race three years ago.

"The thing you have to remember is we're all grown-up kids - but competitive ones! You never lose that competitive instinct, even when you become a retired jockey."

Luke Harvey celebrates training a point-to-point winner

Although absent from the inaugural race, ITV Racing's 51-year-old pundit Luke Harvey has taken part in every other one, albeit without ever winning.

"Dale works tirelessly on the Leger Legends," said Harvey. "The race really wouldn't happen without all his work. Having said that, I do hope if I'm involved in a close finish it's against Dale because he's the only one I know I'd beat."


What they say

Ian Mongan, rider of Character Onesie
I'm mad up for it. As an assistant trainer you miss out on some of the fun and craic, so I can't wait to pull on the breeches again. I've also got the horse I wanted to ride. I think he has a great chance. I'm pleased he has 11st 2lb, though. I weigh in at 10st 12lb now and wasn't keen on going back into the sauna!

Luke Harvey, rider of Haraz
I've a good ride for Jamie Osborne, who I used to race against but now have to call guv'nor. The horse has a good chance and has run well at the track before. That said, I just hope he travels into the final furlong! I also hope it's a tactical race as if it is I know I'll beat the Flat jockeys.

Dale Gibson, rider of Mustaqbal
He isn't altogether straightforward but has an each-way chance. He needs to find 3lb and I've joked with his trainer, Michael Dods, that maybe I'm the man to find it!

Brian Harding returns to the saddle having retired earlier this year

Brian Harding, rider of Off Art
I've never stopped riding as I'm doing breaking-in and pre-training, but there's no substitute for racing fitness and it's amazing how quick you lose it. I'm looking forward to the race and hope I've landed lucky with my mount as I've ridden plenty of winners for the Easterbys in the past. The horse hasn't won since 2013 but he ran well last time.

Adrian Nicholls, rider of Fire Palace
I've been riding out my own horses and working on the simulator, so I should be fit enough, although not to the extremes of Gibo - Dale will have been ready for this since Christmas! Fire Palace's form last year was pretty good and she'd have a chance on her Windsor fourth a few runs back. Last time out she started very slowly, and although I might not have been the world's best jockey, I think I was good at getting them out of the stalls.

Gary Bardwell, rider of Patching
I'd love to win it. I've taken part six times and it would mean everything to win, especially given what happened to one of my best friends, Allan Mackay. I'm feeling fit and well. The horse I'm riding has been running nicely at Yarmouth and appreciates some cut in the ground. I'm really up for it.

George Duffield, rider of Soldier Blue

The horse who finished second in the Pontefract race he was third in has won since. The fourth was a fair way behind as well. If he's improving he looks to be off a good mark. He runs off 69 but I think he could end up being an 80 horse if he's progressing as much as Brian Ellison thinks he's progressing. Brian reckons he has a good chance.

Jamie Mackay, rider of Diamond Runner
I'm riding in the race because of what happened this year to Dad. The IJF has been very helpful to him and my family, including my brother Nicky, who is working away at Oaksey House. I ride out every day for Charlie Appleby, so I'm fit, and Diamond Runner likes the ground, which is going to be a big thing.


Read exclusive previews for the Doncaster St Leger meeting from 6pm tonight on racingpost.com

I would love to win it. I've taken part six times and it would mean everything to win
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