Jedd O’Keeffe’s Sam Spinner won the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot racecourse on Saturday

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JEDD O’KEEFFE got here near packing in coaching after a ferocious battle with most cancers.

Yesterday he stood within the Ascot winners’ enclosure dreaming of the Cheltenham Competition after Sam Spinner floor out glory within the JLT Lengthy Stroll Hurdle.

Homeowners Paul and Caron Chapman had been amongst these to stay by Yorkshire-based O’Keeffe when he wanted them most.

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Sam Spinner (proper) hols off the problem of L’Ami Serge

Now, six years later, they had been repaid with a Grade 1 victory from a terrific prospect that price simply £12,000.

Sam Spinner had made all of the operating to win a Haydock handicap by a whopping 17 lengths on his earlier begin.

He took the rise in class in his stride under jockey Joe Colliver to see off L’Ami Serge and Unowhatimeanharry from the front again.

O’Keeffe beamed: “I can’t quite believe it. I’m absolutely thrilled for Joe, Paul and Caran and thrilled for us. It’s really special.

 A trip to Cheltenham is now on the agenda

PA:Empics Sport

A trip to Cheltenham is now on the agenda

“We had to take a bit of a leap of faith coming here but it’s paid off.”

Sam Spinner was slashed to 6-1 joint-favourite for the Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle by the sponsors.

To have a fancied Cheltenham Festival contender is not chartered territory for O’Keeffe. His yard is mostly filled with Flat horses.

He said: “When people have asked me what my ambition in racing is I’ve always said I’d love to train a domestic Group 1 winner on the Flat.

“A Grade 1 winner jumping feels pretty good. He’s the best jumper I’ve had by a long way – we’re so lucky to have him.

“We’ve got quite a nice horse I think.”

 Sam Spinner was cut for Stayers' Hurdle glory

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Sam Spinner was cut for Stayers’ Hurdle glory

For Colliver it was redemption. He had accepted his career in the saddle was over last year when handed a 10-month prison sentence for lying about a drunken car crash.

There isn’t a person alive who hasn’t made a mistake but this was a big one. And it looked sure to end his dreams of big-race glory.

Excited dog joins horse race at Cheltenham and keeps up with the pack

Colliver, 26, said: “I regret everything. The day I went to court I thought that was me as a jockey over and done with. I’d almost mentally prepared myself for that.

“I was lucky my boss Micky Hammond, his owners, staff and the trainers in Middleham stuck by me.

“Lately it just keeps going up and up. You can’t get any better than this.”

It was obvious how unaccustomed Colliver is to big-race wins as he had to be dragged out of the shower to collect his trophy. He’ll soon get used to it if he sticks with Sam Spinner.

Colliver added: “The first time I rode him it was in a Catterick bumper – look where we are today. Each time he runs he gets better and better.

“To win a Grade 1 on my first ride at Ascot is a dream. Every jockey wants to be here on the big days. I’m lucky enough to be one of those mediocre jockeys that’s here winning races on big Saturdays.”

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