This year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup winning trainer, Jim Culloty, will be one of 16 retired jockeys returning to their old day job when he saddles up for The Clipper Logistics Leger Legends Stakes at Doncaster tomorrow. Jim will be up against some of racing’s greatest ‘golden oldies’, including Michael Hills, Kevin Darley, George Duffield, Carl Llewellyn and Brendan Powell.
Others dusting down their riding boots for another grudge match against their rivals include Tote Gold Trophy champ, Jimmy McCarthy, Golden Jubilee hero, Willie Supple and Haldon Gold Challenge Cup champ, Gay Kelleway.
Completing the line-up of top jocks will be Derby hero, Willie Ryan, Welsh Grand National victor, Luke Harvey, Ayr Gold Cup winner, Gary Bardwell, German Derby winning rider, Billy Newnes, Stewards’ Cup victor, Dale Gibson, leading Northern jockey and now top trainer, Ollie Pears and finally leading lady rider, Kelly Harrison.
The Leger Legends race on the first day of the Ladbrokes St Leger Festival is the only charity race in Britain for ex-professional jockeys and has proved hugely popular since its inception in 2010.
Last year’s race could hardly have delivered a closer finish with Willie Supple pipping Gay Kellerway by a nose for first place. The year before, Mick Kinane beat George Duffield by the shortest distance in a driving finish, while in 2011 top American rider Julie Krone showed a clean pair of heels to Charlie Swan who had won the inaugural running.
The event is an important fund-raiser for the Northern Racing College and The Injured Jockeys Fund Jack Berry House, a new facility for injured jockeys in the North. In the four years since the Legends race first took place over £450,000 has been raised for these causes.
The Leger Legends Race is preceded by a special fundraising lunch which will be attended by the participating riders, along with other stars from the saddle including Lester Piggott.