By Ray Hickson
He’s the youngest of the 12 Everest jockeys but Regan Bayliss refuses to be overawed by the responsibility of chasing a $5.8 million first prize on Redkirk Warrior at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Bayliss, 23, has a lone Group 1 win to his name courtesy of Redkirk Warrior’s Newmarket win earlier this year but he doesn’t talk like the least experienced hoop in the $10m TAB Everest (1200m).
“I’ll be going into Saturday 100 per cent focused and really looking forward to soaking it all up,’’ Bayliss said.
“I have to treat it like a normal race day basically.
“I know there is a lot of money involved but your preparation doesn’t change, you have to keep your fitness up and be ready to rock and roll.’’
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Not only does Bayliss have the hopes of Redkirk Warrior’s owners as well as three trainers, David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig, to carry he’ll also be emblazoned in the colours of slot holder The Star.
But the imported seven-year-old is an important horse for Bayliss and he’s built up a bond having piloted the horse to his last two wins.
“He’s been basically a life changing horse for me,’’ he said.
“He won me my first Group 1 in the autumn carnival and David (Hayes) has said he thinks he’s one of the best horses in the stable.
“That’s a massive comment because there are so many good horses in his stable.’’
Redkirk Warrior has been to Randwick twice and missed a place both times, in the Doncaster Mile and the All Aged Stakes (1400m) back in April.
While Bayliss admits he’s been most effective in Australia fresh and down the Flemington straight six, with wins in the Newmarket and Bobbie Lewis both first-up from a spell, he’s seen nothing since the horse arrived in Sydney to suggest he isn’t flying.
He partnered both Redkirk Warrior and stablemate Vega Magic in their track gallops on Monday morning and said there wasn’t a lot between them.
“Obviously he is a very good straight horse but he has won races in Hong Kong and Melbourne going around a corner so I don’t think that poses a threat at all,’’ he said.
“He’s had a month between runs so he still has that freshness in him and I wouldn’t want to be on any other horse.
“He was going super going into his first-up run and the stable ran him (in the Bobbie Lewis) to show the slot holders how well he is going and we’re grateful the Star have chosen him to represent them.
“I think they have chosen the right horse.’’