By Graham Timbrell
Greg Bennett is looking for a new rider for Invienna in her Country Championships qualifier after the mare resumed with a record breaking win at Scone on Sunday.
Rachael Murray rode Invienna to that win but she is committed to riding another of Bennett’s championships hopefuls, Sassaby in the Hunter and North West Qualifier at Scone on 5 March.
Invienna stamped herself as a major Championships player by resuming from a lengthy spell without a trial to carry 62kgs and win the Newgate Class Three (1100m) in 1min 02.27secs.
That bettered the previous track record of 1min 02.52secs and smashed the previous class record, set 15 years ago, by almost two seconds.
“I don’t think we will have any trouble finding another rider,” Bennett said.
“The mare had a long break and really strengthened up but she had only been back in work for about six weeks before this win.
“The Championships is her grand final and she will have one more run, either at Randwick or Rosehill, before the qualifier.”
Last year Christian Reith rode Invienna when she ran fourth in the qualifier at Scone, beaten out of a place by a matter of inches, while Brenton Avdulla was on board when she ran fifth in the Wild Card at Scone.
Bennett said he will only give her one chance to qualify for this year’s final.
“If she does not qualify at Scone she will not go to the Wild Card,” Bennett said.
“It will be too difficult to bring her back in distance then back up a week later in the final.
“If she misses out we will look for something else.
“There will be plenty of options.”
Bennett won last year’s Country Championships final with Clearly Innocent and is planning a multiple attack on this year’s Scone qualifier with at least four runners.
Apart from Invienna and Sassaby he is also planning to start Mister Marmalade and All Summer Long.
“There might even be another one or two,” Bennett said.