A quiet character and a quiet riding style. Jamie Spencer has become well known for pouncing from off the pace with well-timed runs, a style that has served him admirably over the years.
He was champion jockey in 2005 while operating as a freelance, and repeated the feat in 2007 when sharing the title with Seb Sanders. He has won two British Classics, as well as two in Ireland – making history when winning the 1998 Irish 1000 Guineas on Tarascon at the age of just 17.
His father was a National Hunt trainer. He is the godson of Irish racing and breeding supremo John Magnier, owner of Coolmore Stud, and was Irish apprentices’ champion in 1999.
Spencer had a brief spell as Aidan O’Brien’s stable jockey at Ballydoyle, during which time he became Irish champion jockey in 2004. The pair split in 2005, with Spencer moving to Britain and flourishing immediately.
He teamed up with O’Brien again to take the second Long Distance contest of the QIPCO British Champions Series, the Gold Cup, at Royal Ascot in June 2011, with Fame And Glory and partnered the same horse to victory in the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot on the inaugural QIPCO British Champions Day in October.
He repeated that QIPCO British Champions Day success in 2012, this time in the QIPCO British Champions Sprint on board Maarek.
He signed a two-year retainer with Qatar Racing, a subsidiary of Series sponsor QIPCO Holding, in late 2012 to ride all their horses and started the QIPCO British Champions by finishing second in each of the first two races, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas on Glory Awaits and the QIPCO 1000 Guineas on Just The Judge.
He won the Irish 1000 Guineas on Just The Judge and followed that with third place in the Investec Oaks on The Lark and second place on Dunaden in the Investec Coronation Cup. Just The Judge was then third in the Coronation Stakes, a sixth Series place for the Irishman in 2013.
Spencer was narrowly denied victory in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes aboard The Grey Gatsby in 2015, suffering a short-head reverse. He hit the frame again only a few days later as he produced a fine ride aboard outsider Astaire in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes to finish third behind international raiders Undrafted and Brazen Beau.
He duly opened his 2015 QIPCO British Champions Series account with a victory in the Qatar Goodwood Cup aboard Big Orange. The pair lined up in the same race again in 2016 and the verdict was the same, with Spencer and the mighty Big Orange battling all the way to the line.
Since then, Series race wins have eluded Spencer but there have been many fine efforts along the way. It’s difficult to think this legend of the weighing room will be kept out of the winners enclosure for much longer.