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Atzeni gets Qatar gig

Andrea Atzeni will become retained rider to powerful owners Qatar Racing from the start of next year, replacing Jamie Spencer who shocked the Racing World earlier in the week with news of his retirement. Spencer made the announcement on Thursday that he is to take up a management role with Qatar Racing and Sheikh Fahad Al Thani and co have wasted no time in appointing a successor in the form of the 23 year old Atzeni.


Atzeni has made great waves in the racing sphere since arriving from Italy, riding some big winners for the likes of Marco Botti and more recently Roger Varian. This season he finished runner-up to Australia in the Investec Derby on regular partner Kingston Hill, a horse he had won the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy on last season.


Joining Atzeni in the new look Qatar line-up next year will be the rising star of the weigh-room Oisin Murphy, who will act as second jockey, replacing Harry Bentley, who’s contract will be allowed to run out at the end of the season. Murphy is another youngster to have taken the racing world by storm over the last few years, learning his craft at the Andrew Balding stable, eventually riding out his claim earlier this year.


On the announcement Atzeni said: “I feel very privileged to have been asked to ride as first jockey for Qatar Racing.


“I am excited at the prospect and look forward to repaying the faith Sheikh Fahad and his brothers have shown in appointing me.


“I would like to thank all the trainers who have supported and helped me in my career, without whom I would not have received this opportunity.


“In particular, I would like to thank Roger Varian and his wife Hanako for their support. I credit Roger with putting put me on the map, through horses such as Kingston Hill. I am very grateful to Sheikh Mohammed Obaid and Luca Cumani, who have both been terrific to ride for, and to Robert Eddery, who has also been a great supporter.”


Murphy took to twitter to say: “I’m very fortunate to be given the opportunity to be a part of Qatar Racing.


“I look forward to my role as second jockey in the coming season. I would like to thank Andrew Balding for his guidance and support during the past two seasons.”


By Kevin Walsh / Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire


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