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Timing's Right For Bullock To Hit The Highway Then Run

By Ray Hickson

How do you stick with two horses you’re keen to partner when they’re racing on the same day at different venues? If you’re jockey Aaron Bullock you just hope the timing’s on your side.

Jockey Aaron Bullock (Pic: Bradley Photos).

And much to Bullock’s delight he’ll be able to ride unbeaten three-year-old Perennial in Saturday’s TAB Highway (1000m) at Randwick before hitting the highway for an engagement on Tavi Time in the Polytrack Provincial-Midway Championships Qualifier (1400m) at Newcastle.

Last season’s national premiership winner has a big opinion of both horses so the four hour gap between the Highway and the Championships race give him more than enough time.

“They wanted to keep Perennial at 1000m and win a Highway with him,’’ Bullock said.

“I knew a long way out he was going there and I knew Tavi Time was going to the Newy race. I said to my manager (Drew Smith) I think we’ve got a problem because I think both can win with a bit of luck.

“Drew said straight back why don’t we do both, as the Highway is always early and the Championships the last and we’ll see if we can work it out.

“It couldn’t have worked any better.”

Perennial, $4 with TAB on Thursday, has had three starts at 900m for three comfortable wins and Bullock said the way he races at present he’s not quite ready for 1200m yet but the 1000m is ideal.

But he rates this particular Highway as one of the strongest he’s seen so there won’t be a lot of room for error from the Paul Messara and Leah Gavranich trained gelding.

“He’s a horse that’s got a lot of ability, he’s just got to learn to harness that energy,’’ Bullock said.

“Sometimes sprinters can be like that, he’s been trying to do it all 100 miles an hour but he’s the real deal.

“He’s one of those horses that has gears on top of gears. He can let down off a high cruising speed and anyone who knows racing knows only the good ones can do that.

“He was a bull headed fellow early days and I’ve been talking to Paul about sprinting this horse over short trips until he learns to come back and listen to me.

“He’s been a work in progress but I couldn’t have been more happy with him first-up. He came back under me, relaxed in the middle stages, and when I really put the foot down on him he let down well.”

Bullock secured Big Dance eligibility for Tavi Time when they scored a runaway win in the Mudgee Cup in December and he’ll arrive at Newcastle confident he can book a place in the $1m Polytrack Provincial-Midway Championships Final.

The Kris Lees-trained gelding is one of the favourites to win the series and, as $1.90 favourite on Thursday, the market expects him to have little trouble qualifying.

“He’s a very good horse. My job is to keep him out of trouble, when you have a horse with that much ability they don’t usually have bad days,’’ Bullock said.


Perennial wins at Newcastle on February 3

“He’s tried to do it his own way a couple of times in his races, and to be fair to him he’s still won them, but we saw what he did in the Mudgee Cup.

“In the 13 years I’ve been riding I’ve never won a country cup that easily. He demolished them.”

Tavi Time trialled for Dylan Gibbons at Wyong at the end of January but Bullock was on board for an exhibition gallop between races at Newcastle a coupe of weeks ago to top off his preparation.

All the fields, form and replays for Saturday's Randwick meeting

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