10/17/2006 11:00PM

Trainer and jockey races still tight


EDMONTON, Alberta - There are 26 races for the final three days of the Alberta Thoroughbred season here at Northlands Park, including 10 for getaway day Sunday.

The meet riding and training titles figure to go down to the wire, with Rickey Walcott and Quincy Welch battling for the jockey title and Stu Simon making a late bid to overtake defending champion Red Smith for the training title.

Welch went to Vancouver last Sunday to pilot True Metropolitan to victory in the $125,000 B.C. Premier's Handicap at Hastings. True Metropolitan defeated arch-rival Spaghetti Mouse for the second straight time.

Welch's two trips to Hastings to ride True Metropolitan, the front-runner to be named champion older horse on this circuit, may have cost him some victories at home, but the opportunity to ride one of the best handicap horses in western Canada was impossible to turn down.

Walcott, the defending champion at this meet, was unable to widen his margin over Welch last Sunday.

Simon has closed to within striking range of Smith after being well back just a month ago. Should Simon complete his late run - and he saddles several contenders this weekend - then he can thank probable Alberta claimer of the year Viscount Victor G.

Viscount Victor G is 7 for 10 on the year with 5 wins at this meet, including 4 for Simon, who lost him for a $10,000 tag in July and claimed him back for $17,500 next out.