09/16/2012 4:51PM

Woodbine: Wigmore Hall repeats in Northern Dancer

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Michael Burns
Wigmore Hall, winless since taking the 2011 Northern Dancer, defends his title by scoring under Jamie Spencer on Sunday.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario — The English raider Wigmore Hall captured the Grade 1, $504,000 Northern Dancer Turf for the second year in a row under Jamie Spencer at Woodbine on Sunday.

Wigmore Hall raced at the rear of the pack on the backstretch of the 1 1/2-mile marathon, as Celtic Conviction set honest fractions, while being pressed by the filly Irish Mission.

The field bunched up on the far turn, and Wigmore Hall was angled wide for the stretch. He hit the front at the three-sixteenths pole, and then held off 3-1 favorite Al Khali the rest of the way to prevail by a neck in 2:28.28, over a course labeled good.

Forte Dei Marmi finished another length back in third. He was followed by Scalo, Irish Mission, Musketier, Ojibway Signal, and Celtic Conviction.

Wigmore Hall ($9.40) banked $300,000 for owner Mark Hawtin and trainer Michael Bell. He was coming off a seventh in the Grade 1 Arlington Million.

“He’s one of my favorites,” said Spencer. “He tries really hard. I probably got [to the lead] sooner than I wanted to, because he doesn’t do a whole pile when he’s in front. He hasn’t won since this race last year, and Michael Bell and his team did a great job training him, getting him back in good form.”