RACING legend Mick Kinane is back for the St Leger meeting and his competitive edge is still there.
The 13 time Irish Champion jockey, who had a long association with Sea The Stars, will race in the Clipper Logistics Leger Legends charity race today.
Still in shape, Kinane won the John Smith’s Aintree Legends charity race at the Grand National earlier this year and is confident of adding a win at Doncaster to his vast trophy collection which he amassed over a glorious 34 year career.
He said: “Nothing compares to the buzz of riding a winner and the craic you get in the weighing room so I can’t wait to get back in the saddle.
“I’ve kept pretty fit riding out for my old boss John Oxx and don’t think I’ll ever lose my competitive streak. I hope I’ve got enough in the tank to see me back in the Winner’s Enclosure.”
Kinane won the Leger himself in 2001 whilst riding Milan, the first of Aidan O’Brien’s three winners at Doncaster, and he’ll face stiff competition in the shape of three other retired riders who have won the Stakes before.
He remembers that win fondly, even if it was one of 3,000 that he achieved in an illustrious career which culminated with stunning rides on Sea The Stars.
“It was actually my first time in the Leger itself so it was great to win it,” he said.
“I had been pre-occupied with other races but to win it the first time of asking was a proud moment in my career and it’s got pride of place in my trophy collection.
“It’s a classic race and it’s an important one to win so I’m really glad that I did.”
Kevin Darley, who rode Bollin Eric to victory in 2002. George Duffield had won it 10 years before on User Friendly, whilst Richard Hills shared the 1999 Leger with Mutafaweq and all are gunning for another Doncaster win.
This trio and Kinane are amongst a 16 strong field that also includes Jamie Osbourne and last year’s winner Julie Krone. The race is in its third year and raises money for the Injured Jockey’s New Rehabilitation Centre in Yorkshire and also supports the Northern Racing College.