Matt Chapman is back and talks about those in the saddle who have had the biggest effect on him over the years

SO I was asked to come up with my five favourite jockeys for my latest column in the hope of getting you lot all talking!

But I have changed it about a bit. So here are five jockeys (six actually, and I have left Oisin Murphy out as surely we will have a book out soon!) who have had an effect on me.

Jamie Spencer

Now the Spencer haters will already be shouting OMG. Spencer?!

Spencer might be to riding what I am to broadcasting, although it’s fair to say he’s got rather a lot more natural talent than yours truly!

Spencer can be an infuriating rider, as he well knows. Indeed only recently one of his biggest supporters – Jamie Osborne – was saying as much on social media.

But despite the moments where he makes you throw things at the TV, Spencer is different and I like that. Just look at him on Sariska in the Irish Oaks.

And does anyone ride the sprint track at Ascot better? He’s also fun to interview and always gives me stick.

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James Doyle

Doyle is almost too nice. You just can’t imagine him ever having a punch up in the weighing room. That said his story is truly amazing.

On the old Attheraces I used to sing his praises on the all-weather when he might have one winner a week. I saw something magical in his ability.

Of course he almost gave up to become a plumber at one stage, and now he has been retained by Prince Khalid Abdullah and Godolphin. It’s a fairytale story to be honest, and a classic example of talent shining through.

I have no idea if he’s a miserable old so and so behind the scenes. But from what I have seen all jockeys would be proud to conduct themselves like Doyle.

Jason Weaver/Darryl Holland

Two jockeys who were never champion but should have been.

Weaver rode over 200 winners in a season when chasing home Frankie Dettori while Holland was second to Kieren Fallon.

When I was a reporter for the Racing Post I used to visit Jason and sit on the floor in his bathroom chatting to him while he desperately tried to lose a pound or two in the bath. I have always liked Jason. And he could ride. Like Holland brilliant from the front.

I was agent for Holland for three seasons, including for the Fallon defeat. When he woke up in the right mood the Dazzler was unstoppable. He lacked a bit of consistency and probably was too honest to owners. But boy he could make a horse run.

Kieren Fallon

As a punter when Fallon stoked one up it was like a racing orgasm. You just knew in a finish he would be stronger than whoever he was up against.

And there was something relentless about Fallon. Winding a horse up from way out…then resorting to the whip for the ultimate drive. I got the feeling jockeys were scared of Fallon.

Who wouldn’t be?! He was a bad boy to many. But what a rider.

Pat Eddery

I got to know Pat quite well when I used to be involved with the jockeys’ challenge in Mauritius.

His demise and passing will remain one of the saddest moments in racing. Not enough was done to help him.

As a man Eddery was great fun, and very cheeky. As a rider in some ways you could say he was Spencer with more consistency.

A multiple champion, Eddery rode some of the great horses like Dancing Brave. He also ‘lost’ a Derby he should have won on El Gran Senor.

Like Fallon, Eddery in full flow was magical in the extreme. Also like Fallon he had his own style that no one could match. Pat’s bottom bouncing up and down on a horse was unique – Adam Kirby the closest we have to it now. A special man.


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