Today I’m riding at Geelong where it’s Geelong Cup Day. The rail is in the true position and the track is rated in the good range. It’s one of the last chances for horses that win the main race to incur a weight penalty to get them into the Melbourne Cup field.
Race 3 is the Geelong Australia BM64 Handicap over 1100 metres, my ride here is THE ASTROLOGIST who is trained by Leon & Troy Corstens. This four-year-old gelding by Zoustar runs in the colours of Bennett Racing. He is lightly raced having had seven starts and has a record of two wins and three minor placings. His two-year-old form was very good with both of his wins being as a younger horse. He had two runs at the end of last season as a three-year-old and even though he didn’t win, both of his runs were solid efforts in finishing third on heavy ground. He resumes for his new trainers today and I’ve watched replays of his recent jumpouts in preparation for his first up run, where he has gone very nicely at Flemington. He has drawn an outside barrier and carries the top weight of 62.5 kilos, but if he finds his best form he will take a lot a lot of beating.
Race 6 is the Listed Roderick Insurance Brokers Geelong Classic over 2200 metres for three-year-old’s, my ride here is ROUSSEAU who is trained by Chris Waller. This is one of the lead-up races for the Derby which is held at Flemington over the carnival. Rousseau is a colt by So You Think that is raced by Star Thoroughbreds and partners. He comes into this a six-start maiden with a second and third placing and had been racing in strong company in Sydney earlier in his preparation before having his last three runs in Melbourne. I had my first ride on him two starts ago at this course over 1700 metres where we finished fifth and less than two lengths from the winner. I learnt a lot from riding him that day as he did a few things wrong from the wide barrier and was a little bit colty. He will start from a low barrier draw today and has the benefit of an extra run under his belt. If my horse does everything right and things go his way from the more favourable barrier draw, he will be very competitive.
Race 7 is the feature of the day, it’s the Group 3 bet365 Geelong Cup over 2400 metres, my ride here is ASHRUN (FR) who is trained by Andreas Wohler. This five-year-old imported entire by Authorized is raced by Australian Bloodstock & Stall Turffighter. He’s had 11 starts for three wins and three placings. He has serious staying form in Group races in Europe and looks well placed should he make the Melbourne Cup field on his low weight. His two runs this preparation have both been over 3000 metres in France where he finished second in both races in Listed and Group 2 company. Last start he contested the PRIX KERGORLAY, which has been a strong form reference for horses then travelling to Australia. The report from his trainer has been positive and that he has similarities to Protectionist, and that gives me confidence leading into today’s race. He is a versatile horse with his racing pattern and he is a genuine stayer. There doesn’t look to be too much pressure on paper, so that might work against him from his wide barrier draw in a small field. He is a class galloper and if he runs up to his best form, I expect him to be hard to beat today and I’m looking forward to riding him.
Race 8 is the Listed Bennett Racing Black Pearl Stakes over 1200 metres for fillies and mares, my ride here is KALKARNI ROYALE who is trained by Kevin Corstens. This four-year-old mare by Nicconi is raced by the sponsor of this race, Bennett Racing. She is lightly raced and has a good record, winning three times from seven starts. Her two runs this preparation have seen her finish fourth in strong company. I rode her at her most recent start at Cranbourne and even though she was beaten by six lengths, she bumped into a horse that really dominated the race. I felt that she struggled to get around Cranbourne with the pressure of that race and thought she was going to be tailed off, but once she got balanced up really closed the race off nicely in the straight. She is stepping up in distance today and will start from an inside barrier. She will make her own luck in running and will be very competitive in this.
Race 9 is the No Fuss Event Hire BM64 Handicap over 1400 metres, my ride here is NOVEMBER DREAMING who is trained by Danny O’Brien. This four-year-old mare by Tavistock is lightly raced for her age having had 10 starts for a record of two wins and six minor placings. I rode her throughout most of her last preparation before she raced in Group company in Adelaide over 1600 metres, and in one run upon her return. She is a filly I know well and have won on. She has got really good form and rounded out her last preparation with a good effort to finish third at Flemington over 2000 metres. She is a promising mare who I’m looking forward to seeing how she presents pre-race for her first up assignment. If she has luck in running, I know they will find her hard to beat today.