Today I’m riding at Geelong. The rail is in the true position and the track is rated in the good range but there is rain forecast throughout the day. This is the first meeting back after the track renovations so it will be interesting to see how it races.

Race 1 is the bet365 Odds Drift Protector Maiden Plate over 1200 metres. My ride here is ALFOIL who is trained by Leon & Troy Corstens. This three-year-old gelding by Zebedee has had four starts for two placings. This will be his third run this preparation and my second time riding him. The first time I rode him was at his second start and he was very new to it all and finished just over 6 lengths from the winner in a strong Moonee Valley maiden. Two starts ago he finished second on heavy ground after going forward and last start he was a beaten favourite at Werribee finishing in fourth place over 1100 metres. If he doesn’t have to do too much work from his outside barrier today he will take a lot of running down and on his form is the horse to beat.

Race 2 is the Thompson Creek Thoroughbreds 2YO Maiden Plate over 1200 metres. My ride here is FOREVER AND A DAY who is trained by Danny O’Brien. This filly by No Nay Never is having her first start, as are most of the field. I have ridden her in an official trial at Cranbourne in preparation for her debut and was really pleased with her performance. She showed nice natural speed, was relaxed and handled the day away from home really well. If she brings her trial form to the races and she lands on speed in this field, she will take a lot of beating in this.

Race 4 is the Prestige Jayco Geelong Maiden Plate over 1500 metres. My ride here is RUDIMENTARY who is trained by Leon & Troy Corstens. This three-year-old gelding by All Too Hard has had five starts for a record of two placings, with both of those placings coming from his past two starts at the end of his last campaign and first-up this preparation over 1100 metres. I expect he will have taken natural improvement from his first up run and will appreciate the step up in distance. He will start from an outside barrier in this small field and if he runs up to his current form he will make his presence felt.

Race 5 is the Rex Gorell Group Class 1 Handicap over 1500 metres. My ride here is SWEET KAROLINA who is trained by Leon & Troy Corstens. This three-year-old filly by Starspangledbanner has had eight starts for a record of one win and four placings and has been a model of consistency throughout her career. She won her maiden at the end of her last preparation at this track over 1700 metres and was then sent for a break from training. I had my first ride on her first-up this preparation at Sandown in a strong 3YO BM64 over 1300 metres and her trainer commented how much she had matured both physically and mentally from previous preparations. Her effort on the day in finishing second was very good and she stayed on extremely well and I’m looking forward to riding her again. This is now a small field with less pressure and she has in the past over-raced and done a few things wrong, which I will have to be mindful of. If she runs up to her solid first-up effort there is no reason why she can’t win this.

Race 6 is the Steigen BM64 Handicap over 1700 metres. My ride here is KENTUCKY TORNADO (USA) who is trained by Danny O’Brien. This six-year-old mare by Mizzen Mast (USA) is raced by Brad Spicer and partners. She started her career racing in France before being imported to Australia in 2019. I’ve had five race rides on her for two wins and a third placing and she is a mare I know well. She is resuming this preparation with a new trainer after a stable change. She is a mare that definitely doesn’t handle really heavy ground which I found out after riding her at Moonee Valley in August of last year when she raced on a heavy 10 over 2500 metres, but she does appreciate soft ground. I’m looking forward to her resuming today at a distance where she hasn’t won but has performed extremely well over in the past.

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