Mark Hawtin’s Wigmore Hall was full of energy down the lane to take
the $500,000, Grade 1 Northern Dancer Turf, presented by VTech, Sunday
at Woodbine, for the second consecutive year.
Wigmore Hall, a son of High Chaparral, outdueled a game Al Khali,
third in last year’s race, to post a neck victory (the same margin in
his 2011 triumph), timed in 2:28.28 for the mile and one-half distance
over a ‘good’ E.P. Taylor Turf Course.
Al Khali was one-length ahead of third-place Forte Dei Marmi.
Wigmore Hall, the five-year-old Michael Bell trainee, with Jamie
Spencer in the irons, notched his seventh score in his 27th lifetime
start, the bay’s first win since last year’s Northern Dancer.
“He’s one of my favourites,” praised Spencer, of the Irish-bred gelding. “He tries really hard.”
It was a nice comeback for Spencer, who lost a winning mount aboard
Barefoot Lady in the Grade 2 Canadian Stakes earlier in the card when he
could not ‘make’ 113 pounds asked of him. Davy Moran rode the
Irish-bred to victory.
It was Celtic Conviction and Irish Mission, the Woodbine Oaks and
Breeders’ Stakes victress, who set early fractions of :24.85 and :50.15,
while Wigmore Hall was near the back of the eight-horse field,
patiently held by Spencer.
When the field turned for home, Spencer and Wigmore Hall engaged the
leaders, improving from fourth after one and one quarter miles, to
second at the stretch, commencing his battle with Al Khali right to the
“He loves Canada, especially,” said assistant trainer Gillian Dolman.
“He’s not so great on the soft turf, but he loved the conditions here
Wigmore Hall paid $9.40, $4.90 and $3.50, combining with Al Khali
($4.50, $3.10) for a $39.90 exactor. Forte Dei Marmi ($4) completed a
$174.60 triactor. A $1 superfecta returned $231.45.