By Ray Hickson
Jay Ford hasn’t been used to being the punter’s pal since the days of his partnership with champion sprinter Takeover Target a decade ago.
But that all changes at Rosehill on Saturday when Ford partners either the TAB favourite or second favourite in five of the nine races.
Ford, along with Josh Parr, is the leading rider in action at Rosehill with nine city wins this season and he’s hoping to seize the chance to build on that tally.
“Things have been going well the last six months, I've been riding consistently and with a few of the riders away this weekend I can get more opportunities,’’ he said.
“On paper they look a strong book of rides so hopefully they can turn into a few winners.’’
The 33-year-old’s three pre-post favourites are the Chris Waller trained Unforgotten and New Universe and the Bjorn Baker prepared Impavido.
When asked about how he prepares for a day like Saturday – where he’s only ridden three of his nine mounts in the past - he said a horse’s price is the furthest thing from his mind.
“For me, prices don't worry me because a lot of the time I'm riding horses in double figures. I don't make the market,’’ he said.
“Every day of the week you'll sit on horses at the races you've never ridden before. It's part and parcel of being a jockey.
“It's easier with these sorts of horses because you've seen them go around all the time, you ride against them.
"It's not the same as sitting on their backs, especially if they are quirky or have a few traits, but at least you've had a bit of a look at them.’’
Race 1 – Stunts $2.80
Race 2 – Unforgotten $3.60F
Race 3 – Ozark $10
Race 4 – Collateral $3.60
Race 5 – Tiger By The Tale $26
Race 6 – Impavido $4.00F
Race 7 – Rebel Miss $9.50
Race 8 – Handfast $8.50
Race 9 – New Universe $2.70F
Here’s some comments from Ford about three of his nine rides on Saturday – he marked Collateral and New Universe as his best.
Collateral (Turner Freeman Handicap 1800m) – “I like him as a horse, he has a good record and he ran enormous the other day. He's stepping up in trip and down in weight and I think they are key factors.
“And he's just a winner. He's adept in all surfaces and I'm quite looking forward to riding him.
“All the signs are positive for him. Judging by the way he ran the other day he's certainly come back as well as he went out.’’
New Universe (Bradford Solar Handicap 1400m) – “He has a bit of hype around him. His run the other day was good, he took a while to warm up to his task but he hit the line strongly late.
“I suppose he's stepping up to 1400m which is a bit of an unknown but he's trained by the premier trainer and he looks like a handy ride.’’
Stunts (West Tradies Plate 1100m) – “He finished off well the other day, he's open to a lot of improvement. I did see him in the yard and he's a stylish looking horse.
“I'd like to think if he can run up to what he did the other day, and take natural improvement, you'd like to think he'll be closing strongly again.’’