Dale Gibson admitted to feeling “a bit emotional” after adding his name to the roll of honour in the Clipper Logistics Leger Legends Classified Stakes at Doncaster.
Gibson has been a leading figure in organising the charity event since it was first run in 2010, with all proceeds raised going to the Injured Jockeys Fund’s Jack Berry House and the Northern Racing College.
Greats such as Charlie Swan, Mick Kinane and Julie Krone are among the previous winners of the straight-mile contest and Gibson, who has made no secret of his desire to win the race, needed all his strength to find the target aboard the Les Eyre-trained Bob.
The 8-1 shot was given time to find his feet in the early stages before being produced under a power-packed drive to reel in Kelly Harrison’s mount Janaab by a neck.
“That was fantastic,” said Gibson.
“It’s great if you can have a winner after you’ve retired in any situation and I’m a bit emotional really as I’ve put quite a lot into it, along with a lot of other people. It’s been a really good team effort and it meant a lot.
“It’s great that we’ve managed to raise another £100,000 for the Northern Racing College and Jack Berry House this afternoon.
“I got involved in the race shortly after I retired about five years ago but was never actually planning to get back on a horse again.
“It’s obviously nice to win but the most important thing is the fundraising that we’ve managed to achieve for a couple of really important causes.
“I was a bit more confident after a furlong than I was cantering down as the horse is very, very strong. He’s got a ring-bit on and can take a real tug and if he sees daylight early, game over, but they went quick and I was pretty confident from halfway really.
“Les is always confident and I’m delighted for him.”
East Yorkshire-based Eyre is back training in Britain having had a spell in Mijas in Spain.
He said: “I only decided he was running in the race about a week ago.
“He’s a very hard horse to keep right and we only got about two pieces of work into him.
“Luckily, we managed it and it all came together.
“He’s been a grand horse for us out in Spain and he’s owned by Victor Chandler.”
Harrison was delighted with the effort of the runner-up.
She said: “That was really good. He gave me such a lovely ride. I’ve really enjoyed myself.
“For quite a long way I thought I was going to hold Dale off, but he just got me at the end. He’s very happy with himself.
“It’s been such a good day. I might even consider a comeback!”
Dansili Dutch and Michael Hills finished fast towards the stands side in third, with 11-4 favourite Tiger Jim and George Duffield in fourth.
Asked for his reaction, Hills said: “No. I’ve got no breath.”
Duffield said: “He ran well - I felt he would be better at seven furlongs - he just levelled off in the last furlong.”
Last year’s winner Willie Supple was sixth aboard Mixed Message.
He said: “That was great fun. I’m still reasonably fit as I ride out every day for Charlie Appleby. I’d love to do it again next year.”
Jim Culloty, who won three Cheltenham Gold Cups on Best Mate, had an eighth-placed finish on Patriotic.
He said: “It was great, I really enjoyed it. I just didn’t give him a very good ride.”
Former Leger winner Kevin Darley was ninth on Comanchero and said: “I’m just glad I’m not in the next race! I travelled through the race well enough, but I think the jockey maybe let the horse down a little bit.
“It’s great fun and all for a good cause and it was great Dale, who has helped organise this for a number of years and I know he’s been desperate to try and win it, so fair do’s to him.”
Willie Ryan occupied 10th spot aboard Clumber Place.
He said: “It was good fun - Clumber Place ran all right.
“She is probably better at seven furlongs, with more give in the ground and a turning track.
“She gave me a lovely ride and I was thrilled the owners were up for the challenge of supporting the race.”
Further back were the likes of Luke Harvey (12th on Gambino), Gary Bardwell (13th on Chiswick Bey) and Rod Lappin (14th on Sakhalin Star).
Last of all in 16th was Carl Llewellyn aboard Grace Hull.
He said: “She ran badly and I don’t know why, but it was great fun to be involved.”