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Double keeps Spencer in front.

Title-chasing jockey Jamie Spencer moved on to 64 for the season with a 19-1 double on Hiccups and Hilltime at Catterick yesterday.

It kept him in the lead in what looks a wide-open race for the riders' championship in which five jockeys began the day ahead of hot favourite Frankie Dettori.

Spencer replaced the injured David McCabe on Hiccups in the Gala Casinos Handicap and brought the 7-2 shot with a well-timed run to collar Alchemist Master inside the final furlong and score by a length and a half.

McCabe hurt his neck in an incident in the stalls at Hamilton Park yesterday.

Hiccups' Thirsk-based trainer David Nicholls said: "David is an unlucky lad. He got going and then he broke his leg 18 months ago, and then he got going again. A lad like him needs a bit of luck, but he doesn't get the rub of the green.

"Jamie Spencer is a good rider, but so is David McCabe, and this horse would still have won if David had been on it."

Hiccups has had his problems, and Nicholls added: "He's a credit to the stalls lads, because he does give a heap of trouble.

"He's had three or four stalls tests and thanks to them, they've helped, and he now goes in last.

"He's been difficult because he's had so many problems, and that's why he's wrapped in bandages."

Explaining what happened to McCabe, Spencer added: "David came home with us last night from Hamilton after a horse flipped over on him. It's annoying for him that he missed a winner, because every winner would be nice for him.

"He's got a sore neck and hopefully he'll be back soon."

Spencer completed his brace in similar fashion on Hilltime (7-2) in the Stockton Handicap.

He gave John Quinn's charge a patient ride before hitting the front over a furlong out, and the five-year-old gelding stayed on well to account for Lennel by a length and a quarter.

Spencer, who also had a double at Hamilton yesterday, said: "John's horse won well. He improved over hurdles over the winter and it looks as though he's improved on the Flat as well."

There was a turn-up in the EBF Maiden Fillies' Stakes when 33-1 shot Smart Cassie came home well for Tony Culhane to make a winning debut for local trainer Ann Duffield.

Culhane made it a double at odds of 84-1 on Alabama Twist in the We Race Again Next Wednesday Median Auction Maiden Stakes.

The 6-4 favourite came with a wet sail to head long-time leader White Bear inside the last of the six furlongs and land the spoils by three-quarters of a length.
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Title Annotation:Sport Racing
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jun 30, 2005
Words:447
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