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Friday, 18 January, 2019

Priceless joy in Temple but Chelsea fail to double up for Spence

Priceless gives Chelsea vice-president Alan Spence something to smile about
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Alan Spence has enjoyed FA Cup Finals more than he did Saturday's, but it was still a day that brought the Chelsea vice-president considerable joy.

For little more than an hour before kick-off his much improved filly Priceless scored an impressive win in Haydock's Temple Stakes and confirmed herself a live contender for next month's King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, a double Spence completed last year with Profitable.

Spence was having lunch at the stadium when he watched the Clive Cox-trained Priceless win. In something of an up-and-down afternoon he was brought back down to earth by Arsenal's fourth-minute goal, and even though Chelsea briefly drew level he knew it was going to be tough for his team once they went down to ten men after Victor Moses's second yellow card in the 67th minute.

"I went to Wembley and we lost. I didn't go to Haydock and we won," Spence reflected while watching cricket at Lord's on Monday.

"I couldn't go anywhere but Wembley, obviously, as a month ago I wouldn't have even contemplated Priceless winning at Haydock – but I'm afraid we [Chelsea] just didn't turn up.

"I think they did all the celebrating after winning the Premier League the weekend before, and the previous two matches against Sunderland and Watford had been like entertainment games, rather than games they had to win. I think they'd lost their fighting spirit.

"We got back into it to go one-all, but with ten men we were struggling and Arsenal played very well. God knows where they got all that energy from as we hadn't seen it all season."

Election bid

With the domestic football season over Spence can concentrate on racing, and he is among 12 candidates vying for three places on the council of the Racehorse Owners Association, voting for which closes on June 26.

He feels he is well qualified, having been an owner for 45 years and enjoying more than 300 winners, but while his red and white silks and blue and white cap are a familiar sight on course, he would not have been as involved in racing politics and administration as some rival candidates.

In the meantime Spence's focus is on Royal Ascot, and on the King's Stand in particular, where loyalties will be divided between Priceless, who is getting better with every race, and Profitable, who won the race for him last year but has since been sold.

Even though Profitable now races for Godolphin Spence revealed that he still stands to benefit if the five-year-old triumphs. 

"It's going to be funny as Priceless is going to meet Profitable, who I sold for fortunes to Godolphin, and they're both about the same price for the race," he said.

"I'll be delighted if either wins, but I'm not sure if it adds much to Priceless's value for breeding purposes if she wins a Group 1 now she's already a Group 2 winner, and I'm financially better off if Profitable wins.

"I'm on a bonus, and it's a big bonus as well."

King's Stand Stakes entries

I couldn't go anywhere but Wembley as a month ago I wouldn't have even contemplated Priceless winning at Haydock – but Chelsea didn't turn up
E.W. Terms
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