James jetting off on a high after Leicester triumph

Mon 30 Oct 2017

Ben James will head for pastures new with one lifelong ambition achieved after Champagne Bob gained a tenacious success in the Fosse Way Handicap at Leicester.

The 23-year-old rider, who also doubles up as Michael Bell's assistant trainer, claimed victory on his penultimate ride before heading out to Australia when galvanising the Richard Price-trained 12-1 shot to a two-and-a-half-length success.

James said: "I went to school half a mile up the road and mum and dad live 15 minutes round the corner. It's quite a big thing. It's a racecourse I've visited a lot and it has always been a bit of an ambition to ride a winner here - it's an ambition ticked off."

He went on: "I've been with Michael for two seasons and this is my last week, then I'm going to Australia, with Gai Waterhouse for six months but a year in total. I've been in Newmarket for five years working for Mr (William) Haggas and Mr Bell in different roles, but I feel it is time to fly the nest a little bit."

Tyler Saunders celebrated the biggest winner of his career on Dance The Dream in the feature Sir Gordon Richards Handicap.

Winning trainer Marcus Tregoning said of the 5-2 scorer: "He (Saunders) rides very well and I'm very pleased for him. That is the best race he has won, prize-money wise. It was a nice chance for him and it's a lovely prize to win."

Jamie Spencer will soon be in Australia himself and the former champion jockey was among the winners after the Bell-trained Fire Brigade (5-2) clinched a fourth success of the year when getting up by half a length in the Hoby Handicap.

Spencer said: "There was always plenty of horse underneath me. It was just a case of when the gap was going to come and he was brave to go through.

"I'm going to Australia this weekend. I'm riding one for David Hayes in the Coolmore Stakes on Saturday, then I have something for Australia Bloodstock on the Tuesday at Flemington."

Clubbable (4-11) formed the opening leg of doubles for Cheveley Park Stud, Richard Fahey and Paul Hanagan when providing the successful owners with their 50th winner of the year in division one of the Cossington EBF Fillies' Novice Median Auction Stakes.

The same combination struck in division two of the six-furlong event, which went the way of 8-13 shot Maybride by four lengths.

Quote of the day

Marcus Tregoning highlighted how good timekeeping and loyalty can reap rewards on the racetrack after Tyler Saunders tasted victory aboard Dance The Dream: "He deserves the opportunities. He turns up on time every morning and is never late. He rides well and rides a lot of work for me."

Performance of the day

Fire Brigade won a shade cosier than the half-length margin suggested and with the Lincoln nominated as an early target next year, he could be up to Pattern-race company by the end of 2018.

Ride of the day

Blacklooks was too free for his own good last time but David Nolan managed to curb his enthusiasm on this occasion when steering the Ivan Furtado-trained son of Society Rock to his first victory in the Haymarket Nursery Handicap.

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