By Brad Gray
Rachel King won’t have the regular elbow room she has been afforded on Saturdays in the female jockey room this week, with eight female jockeys riding at Rosehill Gardens. King is certainly not complaining though and hopes to see the trend continue.
“Most of the time it is Kathy (O’Hara) and Courtney Van Der Werf, who has been getting a few rides lately, as well as Rachel Murray but apart from that there is normally only one of two of us and maybe a couple of others popping in for a ride or two,” King said.
“With all of the big jockeys away it gives everyone a bit more of an opportunity.”
The likes of Hugh Bowman, Blake Shinn and Brenton Avdulla are all plying their trade at Flemington for Derby Day, which sees King, O’Hara, Van Der Werf and Murray joined by Deanne Panya, Winona Costin, Carly Frater-Hill and Jess Taylor at Rosehill.
“You obviously want to get the rides anyway but it gives trainers a reason to put you on and if you can do a good job you’ve got some chance of continuing an association with different trainers,” King said.
A prime example of that is King picking up a rare ride for the state’s leading trainer Chris Waller, having been entrusted to steer talented mare Zumbelina.
“I’ve only ever had a couple of rides for Chris. He is one of those trainers that you can hopefully take advantage of this time of year when everyone else is away. If you can have a ride for him and it all goes well, or even ride a winner, you’d be hopeful of continuing that association,” she said.
“Chris is very loyal to those that ride work for him, and ride winners for him, so to get the opportunity to ride in a race for him is big and hopefully I can do everything right, the horse runs well and I might be able to get a few more for the stable.”
King, who has a book of seven rides on Saturday, maintains her association with progressive four-year-old stayer Social Element, who comes back in trip from 2400m in the Listed Tatts Cup to 1800m.
Social Element's game fourth last start
“He is very fresh and well so I don’t think it’ll be a problem. His two previous runs were quite close together so he has had a bit of a freshen in between,” said King.
“His work at home has been great. He is a very consistent horse and I thought his effort last start was huge up in grade against seasoned stayers. He is not one of those yet but he will be in time.
“He is still untapped, learning and getting it all together. He isn’t fully there yet which is exciting because you know there is more to come. We changed a few things around with head gear last time, with the winkers going on, and that definitely seemed to help him.”
King will also partner Dark Eyes for Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott and despite never having ridden him on race day she is very familiar with the Snitzel gelding through trackwork.
“He is the type of horse that takes a bit of time to get fully fit and wound up but on Saturday he’ll be ready to go,” King said.
Social Element and Dark Eyes are both currently rated $6.50 chances with TAB Fixed Odds.