Today I’m riding at Ballarat. The rail is in the true position and after recent rain the track is rated in the soft range.
Race 2 is the PipePro Directional Drilling Two-Years-Old Fillies Maiden Plate over 1100 metres, my ride here is BELLE SAVOIR who is trained by Nick Ryan. This daughter of Not a Single Doubt is raced by the Saunders family. This will be my first time riding her but I’ve seen two of her jumpouts at Caulfield where she looked very professional on the course proper. It gives me confidence that her dam, Rathsallagh, was placed on soft and heavy ground throughout her successful career which included her running second in the Group 1 Queensland Oaks in 2008. She will start from a wide barrier however the field size has been reduced due to scratchings, and at this course and distance there is a long run in to the turn, so it’s not too much of a disadvantage. If she brings her professional attitude to the races and runs up to her jumpout efforts she can win this.
Race 4 is the Cervus Equipment Three-Years-Old Maiden Plate over 1500 metres for three-year-olds, my ride here is LITTLE MISS GUTSAA who is trained by Jamie Edwards. This filly by So You Think has had three starts for two placings. She made her debut as a two-year-old with an unplaced effort at Bendigo. She returned as a three-year-old and after starting from an outside barrier over 1200 metres at put in a solid effort after being ridden back in the field to finish third at Kilmore. At her next start at Pakenham over 1400 metres she sat outside the leader to finish second, less than two lengths from the winner. She will start from a favourable barrier today and steps up slightly in distance from last start. If she continues her consistent form this preparation she will be one of the main chances.
Race 8 is the Hygain Winners Choice Class 1 Handicap over 2000 metres, my ride here is JOHANDOUGH who is trained by Thomas Carberry. This four-year-old mare by Turffontein has had 16 starts for a record of one win and eight placings. She races first up here and from her four attempts racing fresh has placed twice. The conditions of this race are favourable to her overall profile and she looks well placed racing on her home track. I had my first rides on her at the end of her last preparation where she finished second on both occasions at Sandown in BM64 and F&M BM70 grade. She has a versatile racing pattern and is able to settle in a forward position or be ridden back in the field. I’m looking forward to her resuming today, she is a very quirky mare pre-race so it will be interesting to see if she has matured mentally and how she returns this campaign. On her best form she clearly has the ability to win this.