Today I’m riding at Geelong for the Geelong Cup meeting. The rail is in the true position and the track is rated in the good range.
Race 6 is the Listed Roderick Insurance Brokers Geelong Classic over 2200 metres for three-year-olds. My ride here is SHABALALA who is trained by Danny O’Brien. This gelding by Starcraft is raced by Trevor Delroy. He’s had two starts and is still a maiden galloper. He made his debut over 1400 metres at Bendigo where he finished nine lengths behind Micro. He then raced in Adelaide in 3YO BM68 grade over 1550 metres where he finished fourth of five runners, but was only 2.5 lengths from the winner. He has the visors added to his head gear for the first time today and will start from an inside barrier draw for his first attempt over this distance.
Race 7 is the Group 3 bet365 Geelong Cup over 2400 metres. My ride here is LONG ARM (IRE) who is trained by Peter Gelagotis. This six-year-old gelding by Rock of Gibraltar started his career racing in Europe before being imported to Australia. He is lightly raced for his age having had only 10 starts for a record of four wins and two placings. I was meant to ride him when he made his Australian debut, winning at Flemington, however due to an abundance of caution due to COVID restrictions, I missed the ride. He raced very consistently that preparation winning two races and placing in the Group 2 Adelaide Cup. He’s had two runs this preparation and he doesn’t look as though his form has been as solid this time in. If he can return to his best form he can make his presence felt with the benefit of a low barrier draw and light weight.
Race 8 is the Listed Bennett Racing Black Pearl Stakes over 1200 metres for fillies and mares. My ride here is NEED NEW FRIENDS who is trained by Danny O’Brien. This five-year-old mare by Shamus Award has had 17 starts for a record of three wins and six second placings. She has really solid form around her in the Group performed mares Chaillot and Turaath. She comes into this with a nice gap between runs and has had a recent jumpout at Geelong to keep her fitness levels up to the mark where she finished second. She races well over this distance range and has winning form at this track. If we have luck in running from a wide barrier draw she will be amongst the main chances.