Spencer warms to Million task
JAMIE SPENCER'S extensive travels this week are far from over.
After a trip to Thirsk on Monday, he headed for Ffos Las in Wales on Tuesday and then in the opposite direction to Yarmouth the following day. Yesterday he ventured even further afield when flying off to Chicago to ride Cape Blanco in tomorrow's Arlington Million.
Ever the professional, Spencer will attempt to ensure a successful raid on the Group One race by taking a mount in a minor contest at the track today as a warm-up. He has been booked to partner Lily Again for Arlington Park-based Eddie Kenneally in the $60,000 Illinois Owners Stakes, over eight and a half furlongs on turf.
"It'll give me a chance to have a close look at the track beforehand," said Spencer (below). "They have had a fair bit of rain, but that was also the case last time (in New York) and the track dried up on the day."
That last outing he was referring to was in the Man O'War Stakes at Belmont, when Irish Derby winner Cape Blanco put up possibly the best run of his career by comfortably beating the useful Gio Ponti by around two lengths.
There is not a lot of difference in the make-up of the Arlington Million field, according to Spencer. "It's a carbon copy of the Man O'War, which is good news for us. It's almost too good to be true. My horse has done plenty of travelling and he seems to like it," he said.
Aidan O'Brien will be well represented at the meeting as he also sends Treasure Beach, another Irish Derby winner, for the Secretariat Stakes over a mile and a quarter on turf. Colm O'Donoghue takes the ride, but with good reports on the quality of the local entry this will be no pushover for the visitors. (© Daily Telegraph, London)