Spencer slams rival as Hawkbill fails to fire in Northern Dancer
Report: Canada, Saturday
Woodbine: Northern Dancer Turf Stakes (Grade 1) 1m4f | turf | 3yo+
Godolphin's Hawkbill, the 2016 Coral-Eclipse winner who also landed this year’s Dubai Sheema Classic, beat just two home in the Northern Dancer Turf Stakes at Woodbine on Saturday.
However, angry jockey Jamie Spencer was left ruing the close early attentions of a rival, whose actions he felt cost Charlie Appleby’s runner any chance.
Second last year to Johnny Bear, who repeated his victory, Hawkbill, who often goes from the front, again attempted to make all under Spencer.
However, the five-year-old was ridden along four out and then weakened to finish eighth of the ten runners, much to the annoyance of the jockey, who felt Tiz A Slam, who finished sixth under Steven Ronald Bahen, had spoiled things.
"He got harried by the other horse the whole race," reflected Spencer, who won the Northern Dancer two years running on Michael Bell's old favourite Wigmore Hall.
"It ruined his race and mine."
Connections of the Luis Contreras-ridden winner were much happier with how things panned out in the £176,470 contest.
"He's quite a horse," said part-owner John Brnjas, whose daughter Ashlee trains the seven-year-old Johnny Bear.
"I wish I had a barnful of them."
Also on Saturday
Woodbine: Ricoh Woodbine Mile (Grade 1) 1m | turf | 3yo+
Ed Walker's consistent gelding Stormy Antarctic fared best of the British raiders on Woodbine's Grade 1 bill when he finished third behind Oscar Performance, who put himself right in the mix for the Breeders' Cup Mile.
Owned by P K Siu and the mount of Gerald Mosse, Stormy Antarctic, a winner twice at Group level in Europe this term, kept on well, but was a length and three-quarters off the smart winner with Mr Havercamp second.
Lambourn trainer Walker was nonetheless pleased with the effort of his five-year-old, whose fellow Brit Lord Glitters, representing David O'Meara and Spencer, was sixth of the eight runners in the £470,588 event.
The pair had been held up by a delayed flight from Europe in the week, but Walker said on Twitter: "Huge run from Stormy Antarctic in the Woodbine Mile to finish a closing third.
"He's become admirably consistent and one could not ask for a more genuine and tough horse. His big day will surely come when everything falls right."
Oscar Performance has already enjoyed some big days and connections are plotting another for the classy four-year-old, who beat Lancaster Bomber in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf in 2016 and was also a two-time top-level winner last year.
He bounced back after being pulled up in the Arlington Million last time and is as short as 7-1 with Betfair and Paddy Power for the Breeders' Cup Mile, which the Woodbine Mile is a 'win-and-you're-in' qualifier for.
Trainer Brian Lynch, who described Jose Ortiz's ride as sensational, said: "We've got six weeks to the Breeders' Cup. Now we can take a deep breath and do the best we can to have him right on that day."
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