Today I’m riding at Bendigo. The rail is in the true position and the track is rated in the soft range.

Race 2 is the Smartline Finance 3YO Fillies Maiden Plate over 1100 metres. My ride here is STAR OF MANHATTAN who is trained by Henry Dwyer. This daughter of Zoustar is raced by Tony Bongiorno and partners. This will be her second lifetime start after making her debut earlier this month at Kilmore. She started from a wide barrier over the 1100 metres at Kilmore and had good natural speed but was ridden back in the field to get cover. She was a little bit new to it all in running but closed off really well when asked for an effort to finish second by three-quarters of a length. I expect she will have taken natural benefit and experience from her first up run and has drawn more favourably today. I’m looking forward to having my first ride on her and seeing how she performs second-up.

Race 3 is the Ready Bake Classic Maiden Plate over 1100 metres. My ride here is SLEIPNIR who is trained by Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes. This well-bred three-year-old gelding by More Than Ready from the mare Jolie Bay is raced by Rupert Legh and partners. This is his first race start and he has been well educated with an official trial and jumpouts in preparation for his debut run. This will be my first ride on him and we will start from a wide barrier draw in a field of eight runners. I’m looking forward to riding him and seeing how he handles the exposure to raceday conditions and pressure for the first time.

Race 8 is the Budget Bendigo Car & Truck Rental Fillies and Mares BM70 Hcp over 1300 metres. My ride here is DIAQUIN (NZ) who is trained by Nigel Blackiston. This four-year-old mare by Sacred Falls has had 17 starts for a consistent record of two wins and six minor placings. I’ve ridden her on three occasions for a win and third placing, with the third placing being my last ride on her in November 2020 where we were beaten by Night Witches, who she meets again today but at level weights. Diaquin runs first-up today and has the concussion plates removed from her feet and replaced with Equicast for the first time. She is a mare that races well on all surfaces and any rain would further enhance her chances as from three runs on heavy ground she has a win and two second placings to her name. She is a horse that usually settles in the second half of the field so needs luck and the race run to suit her, and for horses to be able to make ground. On her best form she will be making her presence felt first-up today.

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