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Former jump jockey Harding back with a winner on Off Art

Brian Harding proved the leading legend as the former jump jockey returned to the saddle to land the Clipper Logistics Leger Legends race aboard Off Art.

Teaming up with Tim Easterby, a trainer who supported him throughout his riding career, Harding and 5-1 shot Off Art got the better of Adrian Nicholls and Fire Palace in a competitive renewal of the popular mile contest.

Harding, who won the Queen Mother Champion Chase on One Man, called time on a long and successful riding career over jumps only in April and showed no signs of rustiness with a power-packed finish.

Always well placed, the 44-year-old ghosted into contention from halfway as Undiscovered Angel cut out a brisk early gallop.

As the leader fell away, Character Onesie, Fire Palace and Off Art emerged from the pack and settled down for a battle royale inside the final two furlongs.

Former-jockey-turned-trainer Adrian Nicholls momentarily looked like scoring but under a strong drive, Off Art and Harding edged ahead to score a birthday win for Easterby.

"It was great to be back," said a delighted Harding. "The horse was fit but the jockey wasn’t quite so well! It was really good fun and all the work that Dale Gibson puts in to organise everything and raise the funds for charity is fantastic.

"It was brilliant to be back riding with everyone but I think I’ll need a week off after that."

There was no fairytale comeback for 70-year-old George Duffield, who was hard at work from someway out aboard Soldier Blue, who could manage only seventh at the finish.

THE LIFE OF BRIAN
25 years of success in the saddle

Full name Brian Patrick Harding
Born September 26, 1972

Apprenticed to Kevin Prendergast, the Curragh; Gordon Richards, Greystoke
First winner over jumps Palm House, Kelso, October 17, 1992
Queen Mother Champion Chase winner One Man (1998)
Irish Grand National winner Granit D'Estruval (2004)
Fighting Fifth Hurdle winner The French Furze (2003)
Mildmay Novices' Chase winner Addington Boy (1996)
Future Champion Novices' Chase winners Grey Abbey (2001), Eduard (2014)
Peter Marsh Chase winner Samstown (2015)
Other notable winners McGregor The Third (3 Cheltenham cross-country races), Donnybrook (2000 Dipper Novices' Chase), Glinger (2004 Summer Plate), Direct Access (2005 Rehearsal Chase), Harmony Brig (2007 Rehearsal Chase), Double Hit (2010 EBF Mares' Novices' Chase Final), Duke Of Navan (2013 Morebattle Hurdle, 2015 Scotty Brand Chase), Streams Of Whiskey (2014 Grassroots Chase Final), Glingerburn (2015 Morebattle Hurdle, Premier Kelso Novices' Hurdle)
Placed mount in Grand National Simply Gifted (3rd 2005)
Top-rated mount One Man (RPR 173, 1998 Queen Mother Champion Chase)
Highest position in jump jockeys' table joint-15th (2014-15)
Most wins in a season 56 (2014-15)
Total wins over jumps 625 (GB 624, Ireland 1)


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