Legend of Legends Gibson hoping to go out in a blaze of glory on final ride
Clipper Logistics Leger Legends Classified Stakes | 1m | 3yo+ | ATR
Dale Gibson, who has been a driving force in establishing this popular event, lines up against his fellow legends for the final time on the opening day of the William Hill St Leger meeting.
In the Leger Legends' eight-year history £880,000 has been raised for the Injured Jockeys Fund and Northern Racing College, and Gibson, 50, is set to stand down from the organising committee after Wednesday's contest.
He said: “This is my last year riding and my last on the committee. It is also Tim Adams' last as chairman. Andrew Thornton is taking over from me and we’ll be looking for a new chairman.
“When it first started we thought it may last a couple of seasons but after this year we’ll have had 52 individual riders take part and some really big names. A big thank you for the support we’ve had from jockeys, sponsors and those helping to raise funds for two such worthy causes.”
Gibson, praised by his fellow riders for his work behind the scenes in the build-up to the race each year, captured the contest on Bob in 2014 and is bidding for a second success on Luna Bear.
“I was lucky enough to win it and it’s one of my proudest moments,” he said. “It’s a real buzz riding in the race and anyone who doesn’t say that isn’t telling you the truth. It’s great to be riding for Gary Moore and, while the horse looks like he’ll have to improve a bit to win, we’ll be giving it our all.”
What they say
Andrew Thornton, rider of Detachment
I’m really looking forward to it and it’s going to be a competitive race as always. It will be great to pull the silks on again and I’ve been out losing the last couple of pounds I need. It’s great to be riding for Les [Eyre] as I’ve known him for years. I'll be trying my hardest to ride him another winner.
Barry Keniry, rider of Fleetfoot Jack
I’m really looking forward to it. My horse has a good bit of form on soft ground so that’s going to help. My wife Stef trains now so I’m doing plenty helping her out and hopefully we can come back and have a runner of our own next year.
Willy Twiston-Davies, rider of Ginger Jack
I’m really looking forward to giving it one last go in the saddle. It’s great to be riding again but it’s going to be just as exciting to catch up and see some old colleagues. I rode a bit for Nigel [Tinkler] in the past and he’s told me the horse is in good order.
Jamie Mackay, rider of Hammer Gun
Dad [Allan] has always been very positive since he got injured and the IJF have helped him so much. They were also brilliant with my brother Nicky last year – any opportunity to help them raise money is fantastic. My horse’s best form is on the all-weather but he's run in this race before and hopefully can run a good race.
Amy Ryan, rider of Mudawwan
I’ve missed riding more than anyone can imagine. There’s nothing that matches the buzz and I’m really looking forward to it. I’m very close to the Bethell family as I was best friends with their daughter Jess and it’s very kind of them to let me ride in this race for them. Hopefully he’s got a good chance.
Adrian Nicholls, rider of Traveller
It’s always a fun day. I’ve ridden in the race for the last couple of years so I know what to expect. My horse has had a wind operation recently and was progressive last year.
Brian Harding, rider of Assimilie
It was a privilege to ride last year and I was lucky enough to win. While my horse’s best form is on the all-weather, I hope he can run well.
Ted Durcan, rider of Central City
It’s a nice ride to have. Most of his form is over shorter so hopefully they won’t have too much more rain. It’s my first ride in the race and it’s such a good cause.
Timmy Murphy, rider of Cheeky Rascal
My horse is very consistent and should like the ground. Hopefully Luke Harvey will go too fast and set it up for me. Failing that, I might try to get over to follow Andrew Thornton – he set up a few races for me over jumps over the years!
Gay Kelleway, rider and trainer of Lady Alavesa
I’m one of the oldest riding this year but I feel the best I have in a long time. Katie Margarson, George Margarson’s daughter, is a personal trainer and has been putting me through my paces. My horse isn't the easiest of rides – I do like a challenge – but I think she’s going there in really good shape. It’s just whether, as a three-year-old filly, the weights are too much against her.
Ollie Pears, rider and trainer of Placebo Effect
I ride him at home every day so know him well and think he'll like conditions. It's a race that's great to ride in and is always very well received by the public.
Luke Harvey, rider of Ventura Gold
I’ve ridden in it just about every year and I’m hoping to do better than last year as I was atrocious – I wasn’t fit enough. I’ve been riding out for Nicky Henderson for six weeks and Richard Pitman’s daughter Tara has been my personal trainer. I’m really pleased to be on a horse who looks to have a good chance.
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