Spirit Ridge edges out New Endeavour to take out Chairman’s Handicap

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The -trained Spirit Ridge (+380) held on in a grandstand finish in the Group 3 JRA (2000m) at Doomben on Saturday afternoon, with the nine-year-old fighting off a gallant New Endeavour (+550) in the shadows of the post.

The nine-year-old is usually accustomed to a leading role in his races, however, James McDonald elected to take a sit in behind a genuine speed from stall, allowing the son of Nathaniel to get into a lovely rhythm from what would eventually end up being the one-one position thanks to a mid-race move by (+550).

The drifting second favourite (+400) was sent to the lead early by Jamie Kah, but never looked comfortable as the & Adrian Bott-trained Knights Order (+850) battled for the early supremacy.

King (+1000) was able to slot into perfect stalking position under , while the eventual runner-up was locked up three pairs back to the inside.

Regal Lion took off with 400m left to travel, with King Frankel looming large, before New Endeavour attempted to get clear room between the pair.

New Endeavour looked to have them all covered before James McDonald timed his aboard Spirit Ridge, chalking up his eighth-career victory to secure the JRA Chairman's Handicap.

was on course at Doomben to represent the Annabel Neasham team and gave a glowing appraisal of Spirit Ridge.

“Full credit to the horse,” said Pollard.

“He just keeps going well. His first-up run in the Wagga Cup was good and he was always in the market before the race.

“It was a bit of an ugly race. He really took off before the turn. Our other two in the race, they looked like the could quinella it around the corner but they probably knocked up a little bit late.

“He's a big gross horse as well so the first-up run would bring him on. He'll step up to the 2400-metres, I'd imagine, now. Hopefully he can go on with it.

“Great ride by James (McDonald) – one of the best in the business.”

James McDonald was brief in his post-race assessment, suggesting the track was in good order for the remaining races.

“It was a pleasant surprise,” said McDonald.

“He toughed it out well. The track is riding a bit softer but every horse is getting its chance.”

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