A spokeman for Ballydoyle was quick to deny rumours on Tuesday, that Jamie Spencer may be about to return to the top job in Irish racing, as retained rider for the powerful Coolmore operation.
Since the surprise departure of Johnny Murtagh at the end of last season, a number of jockeys have been linked with the role but to date no decision has been made. Early contenders Pat Smullen and Christophe Soumillon were quick to distance themselves from the job while Ryan Moore has also reportedly turned down offers.
It is common knowledge in Irish racing circles that Jamie Spencer has been riding work at Ballydoyle for the last number of weeks, yet a source close to the yard was giving little away:
“I think people are putting two and two together and coming up with 98 here. If someone is thinking of buying a horse, it’s not unusual for them to send a jockey over to have a sit on him. The situation with the stable jockey is unchanged in that we will be using the best available.”
With the Newmarket guineas meeting now less than two months away, Ballydoyle will be anxious to tie down a rider for the season within the next couple of weeks. That is, assuming they plan to retain a rider in 2011. There has been much speculation that Aidan O’Brien may decide to use the best available this coming season, namely Ryan Moore in the UK, Christophe Soumillon in France, Colm O’Donoghue and Seamie Heffernan at home and Gareth Gomez in the US.
Spencer had a previous stint as Ballydoyle’s retained rider but lasted just one season before being replaced by Kieran Fallon. Now older and wiser, and with a British champion jockeys title in the bag, the time may just be right for the baby faced assassin to return….