Having back-flipped on his decision to retire at the end of last year, Irish jockey Jamie Spencer is back in Melbourne.
A retained rider for Qatar Racing when he rode Side Glance to win the Group One Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington in 2013, Spencer is now freelance.
He will ride Big Orange for English trainer Michael Bell in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup and says victory would be “icing on the cake” after a good year.
“I decided to keep going and it’s gone well this year, a lot of big winners, so that’s what I like,” Spencer said.
“Probably my workload is a little bit lighter because of the way I’ve chosen to change things and have a bit better quality of life, not doing seven days a week.”
Spencer, whose only Cup ride was when he was unplaced on Dunaden in 2013, rode Big Orange to victories in the Group Two Princess Of Wales’ Stakes (2414m) at Newmarket and the Group Two Goodwood Cup (3219m) in July.
Big Orange defeated Melbourne Cup rivals Quest For More and Trip To Paris at Goodwood.
He hasn’t raced since finishing seventh of eight to Cup contender Max Dynamite in the Lonsdale Cup on soft ground.
“He’s had a nice break since then and hopefully he puts up a good show,” Spencer said.
Big Orange will be Bell’s first runner in Australia and the English Derby-winning trainer is enjoying the experience.
“Hopefully we’re enjoying it even more at about five past three tomorrow afternoon,” Bell said.
He believes Big Orange is better than his $61 suggests.
“I think that’s a bit disrespectful towards him really,” Bell said.
“I think he’s got enough weight, but if he runs to his form at the July meeting, he’ll be involved.”
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au