The fifth Winter Jockeys Challenge is the showcase event at the Garrison Savannah on Saturday. Six world-class riders from the United Kingdom will battle with the top six riders in the Barbados standings this year in a four-race format.
The UK team is made up Jaime Spencer (captain), Seamie Heffernan, Luke Morris, Danny Tudhope, Louis Steward and Stevie Donohoe. They will face off against the top six riders in the Barbados standings, captain Rasheed Hughes, Eric Daniel, N’Rico Prescod, Anderson Trotman, Affrie Ward and Delano Lopez in races 3, 4, 6 and 7. Spencer has the most experience of the UK team having competed in three of the four jockey challenges and is the only rider on the team to have ridden at the Garrison Savannah before but has never won there and will be looking to enter the winners’ circle this year.
Spencer is a two-time UK champion rider having won the British crown in 2005 with 163 wins and 2007 with 190. Spencer, a multiple Group 1 winner, won the Irish 2000 Guineas this year on Phoenix of Spain.
The Winter Jockeys Challenge is the brainchild of UK horse owner Jeff Laughton and was first held in Barbados in 2013, then in 2014, 2015 and 2016, and after a two-year break it’s back this year.
Speaking at a press conference at the Garrison Savannah today, Laughton said his dream was to see the jockeys challenge become just as big as the Sandy Lane Gold Cup or better one day. He added he was working hard to get there and has brought some of the world’s best riders to Barbados.
Runner-up in this year’s UK Jockey Flat Championship, Danny Tudhope, nearly cost James Doyle his history-making feat when finishing a nose back on the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Dream of Dreams in the Golden Jubilee Stakes.
Tudhope had won four races at Royal Ascot this year including the Queen Anne Stakes group 1 on Lord Glitters.
2019 Epsom Derby-winning jockey Seamie Heffernan who won the famous classic this year on Anthony Van Dyke for Coolmore Stables will be looking to produce a fine display of riding as he samples his first taste of the Garrison Savannah.
Heffernan’s second biggest success is winning the 2016 Breeders Cup Turf on Highland Reel.
The 2019 all-weather champion jockey Luke Morris is one of the busiest jockeys around. Between 2010 and 2015 he had 8312 rides. The talented rider won three times at the highest level winning the Nunthorpe Stakes on Marsha in 2017 and Prix de l’Abbaye De Longchamp on Gilt Edge Girl 2016 and Marsha 2017.
2016 UK champion apprentice Stevie Donohoe won the 2017 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot on Rajasinghe and had competed all over the world.
Rounding off the team will be Louis Steward. Steward’s biggest win came in 2014 in the Ebor Handicap on Mutual Report.
Post time for the first race on this weekend’s eight-race card is 1:15 p.m.