GRAHAM Lee’s “unreal” season reached a climax yesterday when he rode his 100th winner after the former Grand National-winning jockey switched to the Flat.
The landmark came when he powered home the Jeremy Noseda-trained Prophets Pride at Wolverhampton, a remarkable feat for the Bedale-based rider who quit jump racing earlier this year after a heavy fall.
Formerly stable jockey to West Witton trainer Ferdy Murphy, 36-year-old Lee is tipped by some to become the first person to become champion jockey on the Flat after riding more than 1,000 winners over obstacles.
A man who is always reluctant to talk up his successes in the saddle, Lee’s century of winners have been supplied by 35 different trainers – and he intends to continue riding until December 21 before having a break with his young family.
“The season has been brilliant, absolutely unreal,” he said.
“I won’t for a second be thinking about the championship. I think you would have to be off your head to be thinking about it now.”
Countrywide Flame, Yorkshire’s dual Grade One-winning hurdler, could face the hardest test of his jumping life if he takes up his engagement in the Istabraq Festival Hurdle at Leopardstown on December 29.
John Quinn’s Triumph Hurdle hero made the perfect start to his career outside novice company when landing last weekend’s Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle under Denis O’Regan. However the 19 high-profile entries are headed by former Champion Hurdle winner Hurricane Fly from the yard of Willie Mullins.
Jockey Frankie Dettori should finally learn his punishment today for failing a drugs test in France in September.
His solicitor, Christopher Stewart-Moore, said: “We have had a very sympathetic hearing.”
The Queen’s Carlton House, victorious in York’s Dante Stakes in 2011 before finishing third in the Epsom Derby, is to become Her Majesty’s first horse to race in Australia. The four-year-old races in Sunday’s Hong Kong Vase before switching to Gai Waterhouse’s stable.
Todays National Hunt meeting at Catterick must pass an 8am inspection.