Spencer in good company as he rides 2,000th British winner
Jamie Spencer joined a select group of riders on Saturday when Stake Acclaim gave him a landmark 2,000th winner on the Flat in Britain with victory on Ascot's Shergar Cup card.
Spencer, a two-time champion jockey in Britain, became only the fourth rider still competing to reach 2,000 when the Dean Ivory-trained runner landed the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Dash.
He said: "This is testament to all the connections, owners and trainers and staff. I’m only there to ride them and there’s a lot of people who do all the work day in, day out, but to get to 2,000 is a good number."
Frankie Dettori, Joe Fanning and Ryan Moore are the only other current-day riders who can boast 2,000 British Flat winners, with Moore hitting the figure at Kempton last month. Spencer is the 22nd rider in history to reach the milestone.
Winningmost Flat jockeys in Britain
Wins | Name | First/last win | Titles
4,870 Sir Gordon Richards (1921-54) 26
4,633 Pat Eddery (1969-2003) 11
4,493 Lester Piggott (1948-94) 11
3,828 Willie Carson (1962-96) 5
3,111 Doug Smith (1932-67) 5
3,073 Frankie Dettori (1987- ) 3
2,810 Joe Mercer (1950-85) 1
2,748 Fred Archer (1870-86) 13
2,593 Edward Hide (1951-93) -
2,587 George Fordham (1851-83) 14
2,578 Kieren Fallon (1988-2016) 6
2,547 George Duffield (1967-2004) -
2,450 Kevin Darley (1977-2007) 1
2,428 Richard Hughes (1994-2015) 3
2,312 Eph Smith (1930-65) -
2,234 Richard Quinn (1981-2008) -
2,224 Joe Fanning (1990- ) -
2,161 Scobie Breasley (1950-68) 4
2,068 Billy Nevett (1924-56) -
2,052 Seb Sanders (1990-2015) 1
2,015 Ryan Moore (2000- ) 3
2,000 Jamie Spencer (1998- ) 2
Flat wins in Britain only
However, he is not even halfway towards the all-time record held by Sir Gordon Richards, a 26-time champion whose score stands at 4,870. Pat Eddery is next on 4,633, with Lester Piggott behind him on 4,493.
A two-time champion in Britain, Spencer's biggest wins include the 2011 Gold Cup on Fame And Glory, the 2009 Oaks on Sariska, the Lockinge and St James's Palace Stakes in 2007 on Red Evie and Excellent Art respectively, and the 2003 St Leger on Brian Boru.
Asked if there is one that stands out above the rest, Spencer replied: "There’s been a lot over the years but I suppose the Ascot Gold Cup for Jim and Fitri Hay and Aidan O’Brien [Fame And Glory] is the one. Probably the majority of my Group 1 winners have been for Aidan."
Spencer, 37, is perhaps best known for his patient approach in the saddle and has won countless races coming from nearer last than first in his distinguished career.
The son of former County Tipperary jumps trainer George Spencer, who trained Winning Fair to win the Champion Hurdle in 1963, Spencer’s breakthrough came when he was just 17, when Tarascon landed the 1998 Irish 1,000 Guineas.
He was champion apprentice in Ireland the following year and was champion jockey there for the only time in 2004. In addition to his Irish wins and now 2,000 Flat successes in Britain Spencer has also ridden four winners over jumps, including Pizarro at the Cheltenham Festival.
Formerly retained by Coolmore and later Qatar Racing, Spencer briefly walked away from riding in 2014, only to retract his retirement decision within a few months.
Jamie Spencer CV
Full name James Peter Spencer
Born June 8, 1980
Apprenticed to Liam Browne, the Curragh
First winner Huncheon Chance, Downpatrick, May 11, 1996
First Group winner Tarascon (1998 Irish 1,000 Guineas)
First winner in Britain Sharp Scotch, Wolverhampton, November 21, 1998
British Classic winners Brian Boru (2003 St Leger), Sariska (2009 Oaks)
Other Classic winners Tarascon (1998 Irish 1,000 Guineas), Gossamer (2002 Irish 1,000 Guineas), Sariska (2009 Irish Oaks), Just The Judge (2013 Irish 1,000 Guineas), Toast Of New York (2014 UAE Derby)
Arlington Million winner Cape Blanco (2011)
Dubai Duty Free winner David Junior (2006)
Eclipse Stakes winner David Junior (2006)
Champion Stakes winner David Junior (2005)
Ascot Gold Cup winner Fame And Glory (2011)
Lockinge Stakes winner Red Evie (2007)
St James's Palace Stakes winner Excellent Art (2007)
Nunthorpe Stakes winner Kyllachy (2002)
Prix du Moulin winner Excelebration (2011)
Cheltenham Festival winner Pizarro (2002 Champion Bumper)
Most wins in a year in Britain 207 (2007)
Champion apprentice in Ireland 1999
Champion jockey in Ireland 2004
Champion jockey in Britain 2005, 2007 (joint)
Compiled by John Randall
Big Orange is among the stars he has ridden in recent years, while his last top-level success came on Deauville in last year's Belmont Derby.
As for future ambitions, simply continuing to race-ride is enough for Spencer, who said: "With what has happened over the past year with George Baker and Freddy Tylicki, you should be thankful for what you are getting rather than being greedy and saying, 'I want to do this, I want to do that'.
"Everyone is ambitious, but you have got keep a lid on it and be thankful every day that you get home safe and sound.”
Next week: Jamie Spencer joins the line-up of top jockeys revealing the key to their success in a seven-part series, Secrets of the Saddle