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Champions Day: Eddery on a high as Landing Light fills gap in record; Bill Barber on an emotional success for 11-time champion Pat Eddery aboard a horse trained in the yard closest to his heart.

Byline: Bill Barber

PAT EDDERY came almost full circle to tick off one of the rare omissions from his big-race record as he landed his first Cesarewitch in his final season aboard Landing Light.

The 11-time champion jockey partnered the great Grundy to win the Dewhurst Stakes at this meeting 29 years ago for Seven Barrows trainer Peter Walwyn, and it was fitting that the famous yard's present incumbent Nicky Henderson should provide him with the winner of the

Tote-sponsored marathon.

The 12-1 winner had been drawn highest of all the 36 runners but, having held the top-class hurdler up during the early stages of the race, Eddery switched his mount to the stands' rail over two furlongs out as the field fanned across the track and drove the eight-year-old to a two-and-a-half-length defeat of Sun Bird, who deprived Kristensen of second by a neck close home.

Direct Bearing stayed on for fourth but Sir Mark Prescott's trio of runners never threatened to relieve the Tote of a pounds 100,000 bonus for winning the autumn double, Inglis Drever doing best of them in 11th.

Eddery was completing a 220-1 double following the victory of Just James in the Challenge Stakes and could have made it a treble on Milk It Mick in the Dewhurst if he had not stayed loyal to Balmont.

Reflecting on the meeting, he said yesterday: "I thought after the first race, when I was beaten a short head, that it wasn't going to be a good day, but luckily it turned out great in the end.

"I think the Sussex was the best day for me this year but equally yesterday was a great day as well. Every race is a special race, a real good day's racing, and it was great to see a lot of people there. It's nice to go out on a high like that."

Despite his continuing success, Eddery discounted any suggestions of reconsidering his retirement.

He said: "I decided this was my last year and I'm looking forward to doing new things.

"The Cesarewitch is one of the big handicaps I hadn't won - I'd tried to win it for the last 25 years and been placed in it quite a bit but never actually won it.

"It's hard to get on the right horse but luckily I was on the right one yesterday.

"I'd have been disappointed to have retired without winning it.

"I've had a lot of luck out of Seven Barrows and was there for eight years with Peter Walwyn, so it was great to win the race on a horse trained there.

"This horse gave me a great ride - Nick told me to cover him up and I was a bit worried that I might have gone too early, but he stayed well."

The victory was an emotional one for Henderson, who does well with his few Flat runners.

He said: "It's amazing and I think when Pat was at Seven Barrows they were the great years. It's rather remarkable that it has come full circle. Seven Barrows was his first home and I've always loved the guy.

"I didn't have to give Pat many instructions: the man is a legend. I think Pat has probably ridden more horses from Seven Barrows than Mick Fitzgerald has, so I didn't need to tell him what to do. For us to find him a Cesarewitch winner is a bit special."

A spell on the Flat appears to have revitalised Landing Light and the trainer hopes that his renewed enthusiasm will translate once he returns to the winter code.

Henderson added: "We decided to run the horse at York in the spring on the Flat when he seemed to be getting a bit tired of jumping - it was just an idea.

"He then got a 9lb penalty in the Ascot Stakes but still ran a great race before ending up drawn very high in the Northumberland Plate and not really firing.

"We decided to give him a break after that and he had five weeks with Fiona Marner at Kingwood Stud, just ticking over.

"We put him in the Melbourne Cup and realised he wouldn't get in, so this was then the obvious plan after Newcastle.

"We'd been talking about chasing but I think we'll stick to hurdling. I just hope he'll enjoy coming back."

What they said

Pat Eddery, rider of

Landing Light

"It's great to win this for Seven Barrows - I have so many great memories of the yard and I'm sure Peter Walwyn and his wife will be thrilled."

Nicky Henderson, trainer of Landing Light

"I've trained him like a jumper, I'm afraid, and I only hope it's a good omen for the jumpers that I hope will come out in force in the coming weeks."

Don Eddy to Dick Allan as they congratulated each other after their horses, Kristensen and Sun Bird, finished third and second respectively

"Two wee jumps trainers and look at where we are."

Dick Allan, trainer of Sun Bird

"He has run a blinder. He has now been second in the Ebor and the Cesarewitch, but I was a bit worried about whether he might have had enough for the season."

race result

Cesarewitch

1 Landing Light 12-1

2 Sun Bird 33-1

3 Kristensen 50-1

4 Direct Bearing 8-1

Owner: John Poynton

Trainer: Nicky Henderson

Jockey: Pat Eddery

Groom: Steve Morgan

Breeder: Ballymacoll Stud Farm Ltd

Distances: 2l, nk

CAPTION(S):

Mission accomplished: soon-to-retire Pat Eddery wins the Cesarewitch for the first time in his 37-year career aboard 12-1 shot Landing Light, trained by Nicky Henderson
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Oct 20, 2003
Words:935
Previous Article:Champions Day: Punch and Pat unite to leave us wanting more ...; Alastair Down's cup runneth over as two racing stalwarts provide the Flat season...
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