Recently-retired Harding stars on the opening day of the St Leger meeting at Doncaster with victory in the ‘Legends’ race for former jockeys
BRIAN HARDING produced an Art masterclass to land the Leger Legends race at Doncaster.
The traditional curtain-raiser to the William Hill St Leger meeting produced a strong performance from former jump jockey Harding, who only retired from the saddle in April, aboard 5-1 shot Off Art.
The ‘Legends’ taking part in this year’s charity race included ITV regular Luke Harvey and 70-year-old Classic-winner George Duffield.
But Harding showed them how it’s done, winning by half a length from Adrian Nicholls on Fire Power with Character Onesie, the mount of Ian Mongan in third.
The Tim Easterby-trained Off Art was gaining his first win since 2013. The winning rider said: “That was hard work but it was good fun!
“I ride out three or four horses every day who are being broken in but then you come and do this – I thought, ‘Oh my God’. No, it was good fun really.
“I am 45 in two weeks’ time and I left home when I was 15. So I was a jockey for almost 30 years. It just takes a little getting away from. But I do the jockey-coaching job and that keeps me a bit involved. Jamie Gormley is one of mine and he is a good lad and there are some cracking good jump lads, too.”
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Easterby added: “It’s a wonderful race to be involved in, it’s such a big day for racing. A lot of money is raised for charities that need it.
“Once racing stops, for a lot of these guys riding and working in the industry, things can happen and they need support.
“Brian’s ridden plenty for me over the years so it was great to have him. A brilliant solid jockey who always gave a horse a good ride.
“You never had any problems with him and you didn’t have to give him orders!
“I’d like him to come and school some for us that’s for sure!”