Jamie Spencer paid tribute to owner Dr Jim Hay after riding Cape Blanco to a comfortable victory in the Arlington Million.
Along with his wife, Fitri, the Hays have invested heavily in horseflesh and through his association with the pair, former champion jockey Spencer is enjoying a stellar season.
Having already won the Ascot Gold Cup on Fame And Glory, also trained by Aidan O’Brien, Spencer was winning his second Grade One in America within a month on Cape Blanco, last year’s Irish Derby hero.
Having won the Man o’War Stakes, beating top US turf performer Gio Ponti, Cape Blanco confirmed the form with a two-and-a-half-length win. Hayley Turner finished fourth on Michael Bell’s Wigmore Hall.
“He’s a good tough horse and he’s brilliantly trained. All I did was the steering,” said Spencer.
“He is very lazy, he only does what you ask him but you know he will get you there and always is going to find plenty.
“Even in the last furlong I had a look around and he idled for a few strides. That is just the epitome of him.
“When it said seven minutes to post time, those were the longest seven minutes in a long time. He gave me torture at the start, he was just so fresh. He just wanted to get on with it.
“You know when they are like that, he’s very aggressive, so you know he is well.
“I think that any kind of racing suits him. I just think all races suit him.
“Those two runs after Dubai, for whatever reason he just wasn’t himself. We should just draw a line through them. Now he is really back and he is a high class horse and very few horses would win the way he has. He has such a big heart.
“I’ve won two races here in a month and I’m very lucky and people shouldn’t forget that the only reason I’m riding this horse is because of Dr Hay.
“He made a massive investment to get me on good horses. I would have ridden Wigmore Hall but he didn’t win. I can’t tell how much I appreciate their input.”
Spencer was first past the post in the race back in 2005 on O’Brien’s Powerscourt but was disqualified for causing interference, for which he came in for some criticism in the States.
“I try not to dwell on the past. Mine is pretty colourful, so I try not to dwell but to look at the future,” he added.
Turner said of Wigmore Hall: “He ran well. It all went all right for me early on in the race and I had a handy position.
“Just turning in I was hunting Cape Blanco and he’s kicked and I’ve gone after him but he’s hit a bit of a flat spot and then got himself in a bit of trouble. When he got the daylight he ran on.
“Unfortunately it’s one of those things. He felt really well, it was just that the gaps weren’t there when I needed them.”