FORMER Flat jockey Sammy Jo Bell joined an elite roll of honour when landing the Mondialiste Leger Legends Classified Stakes at Doncaster on Dubai Acclaim.
The traditional day one highlight of the St Leger meeting, former greats who have won the unique race featuring retired riders include Sir AP McCoy, Mick Kinane and America’s Julie Krone.
And while six-times champion Flat jockey Fallon, who hung up his saddle in 2016, gave the Nigel Tinkler-trained Kilbaha Lady every chance over the straight mile, he could only finish fourth to Bell’s mount.
She gave up riding through injury in February 2018 and is now assisting her partner Philip Makin, a former jockey who has made a successful transition to the training ranks after his own career was curtailed following a heavy fall.
Trained by Richard Fahey, Dubai Acclaim just held the late flourish of Noel Fehily, the former Champion Hurdle-winning jockey, on Hammer Gun by a short head in a thrilling finish to a race which raises money for Doncaster’s National Horseracing College and Jack Berry House, the Injured Jockeys Fund rehab centre in Malton.
A delighted Bell said: “It was really good, I think I hit the front too soon, but that was just me getting excited.
“I’m really grateful to Richard for giving me a ride and it’s great to pay him back with a winner. I really enjoyed it.
“I did only just hold on, but that was me going too soon – the horse was helping me out. He was good. The last time I sat on him he was a yearling.
“I’m not as fit as I used to be, I know that much, but we’re quite busy at the yard, so I haven’t done as much prep as I would have liked.”
Fehily, who announced his intention to retire after riding a winner at Cheltenham in March, said: “The trainer told me not to hit the front too soon, but I think I overdid the waiting tactics!
“I got blocked in my run just over a furlong out and I had to switch, it probably just cost me, but he’s run a blinder.
“It’s been a great occasion for a great cause and I’m just delighted to have been asked to take part. Hopefully we’ve raised plenty of money.”
Meanwhile, West End Girl is looking to build on her comprehensive Newmarket victory in a competitive renewal of the William Hill May Hill Stakes.
Trained at Middleham by Mark Johnston, she is a little unfortunate not to be unbeaten in three races to date, having won on her debut at Haydock before meeting trouble in running in the Listed Star Stakes at Sandown.
She gained ample compensation in the Group Three at Newmarket last time out and is one of the main contenders in a field of nine.
Part-owner Mike Spence said: “She was unlucky at Sandown when she was still a bit green and hit a flat spot, without that she could easily be unbeaten.
“It looks a competitive race, Aidan O’Brien’s (Passion) was very impressive last time out.”
Meanhwhile, the John Gosden-trained Enbihaar goes in search of her fourth win of the season in the DFS Park Hill Stakes.
Her successes include the Lancashire Oaks and victory on day two of the St Leger festival will surely earn her a step up to the highest level on Champions Day at Ascot next month.
And her stablemate Stradivarius will bid to extend his unbeaten run to 10 in tomorrow’s Magners Rose Doncaster Cup.
The champion stayer wil renew his growing rivalry with the Johnston-trained Dee Ex Bee who has taken runner-up honours behind Stradivarius in the Gold Cup at Ascot, Goodwood Cup and York’s Lonsdale Cup.
Robert Winston has retired from the saddle with immediate effect.
The Group One-winning jockey, who spent a large part of his career in Yorkshire, cited an “amalgamation of reasons” for his decision, with a lack of rides and issues with his weight top of the list.
Champion apprentice in 1999, Winston would have gone close to being crowned champion jockey in 2004 but for a season-ending fall at Ayr. Winston has recently set up a new business rehabilitating horses.
Malton trainer Richard Fahey’s Valdermoro – winner of the Acomb Stakes at York’s Ebor festival – has been sold to continue his career in Hong Kong.