By Ray Hickson
Evergreen sprinter Jungle Edge and top jockey Nash Rawiller are a match made in heaven according to trainer Mick Bell.
The rising 10-year-old is back in Sydney chasing a second win in the Listed $150,000 Bob Charley AO Stakes (1100m), previously known as the June Stakes, at Randwick on Saturday where he'll be presented with his favoured wet conditions.
With COVID19 travel restrictions still in place, Bell won’t be able to make the trip and he needed to select a Sydney rider for Jungle Edge so was rapt to snare Rawiller.
“I’m quite happy about it. I presume Nash would be pretty keen because he’s still in the hunt for the premiership so let’s hope it goes well,’’ Bell said.
“He’s a pretty simple horse to ride, he’s had quite a few apprentices win on him. Kevin Forrester had a good association with the horse and he’s a strong rider like Nash is.
“He starts so well and runs along in front and if he can get a cheap sectional somewhere that’s usually when he’s pretty awesome. But if they want to take him on he relaxes going fast.”
Forrester partnered Jungle Edge under 60.5kg to his lone win in 15 Randwick starts to date in the 2018 June Stakes where he led all the way to beat Shiraz and I Thought So – Saturday will be his third attempt at the race and if successful he’d be the first to win it twice since Hot As Hell in 1998 and 1999.
Of course the gelding has been Group placed four times at Randwick including the Group 1 All Aged Stakes and Jungle Edge returns to Sydney on the back of his latest Group 1 attempt in the Goodwood in Adelaide where he finished last but on a soft 5.
But he was a Group 3 winner of the McKay Stakes over 1100m at Morphettville on a soft 7 prior to the Goodwood and at his last Randwick appearance ran third to Nature Strip and Redzel in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes in March.
All 18 of his wins have come on soft and heavy ground and with Randwick rated a heavy 9 on Wednesday he’s certain to at least race on a high soft track.
“He’s got great form on the heavy but he’s also got ripper form on soft 6s and 7s,’’ Bell said.
“I’m confident he will run well. I expect he will be thereabouts, when he gets his right ground horses have to have a big pull in the weights on him or be a real topliner to get the better of him.
“He came through the Goodwood much better than what I thought.
“He usually takes a week to get over it when he comes back from Sydney but he came back from Adelaide not tired at all.
“In the Group 1 when he couldn’t cross them it changed the whole race, once he didn’t get across that was the end of it.”
Bell said he had some issues in delivering Jungle Edge to his Sydney base with trainer Robert Pearse due to another horse pulling out of making the trip.
Almost 5 years to the day since his first win, Jungle Edge leads throughout to capture the G3 DC Mackay Stakes over 1100m at Morphettville for Mick Bell. It was the 6th stakes win for the Dubawi 9YO who has also been 3-times Group One placed and won nearly $1.7 million in stakes pic.twitter.com/jIqSuyHYyT
— Aushorse (@Aushorse_TBA) May 2, 2020
“The transport up there has given me a bit of grief but he’ll get there one way or the other, even if I have to ride him,’’ he said.
“He’s stayed with Bob many times so that won’t faze him and he knows how to look after him.’’
Jungle Edge opened $17 with TAB and was quickly into $8 behind TAB Everest contender Classique Legend ($2.60) who makes his long awaited return on Saturday.
Ever the optimist, Bell hasn’t given up on his Everest dream suggesting if he can knock over a horse that’s $15 in the 2020 TAB Everest market it’ll keep the dream alive.
Back in 2018 Jungle Edge ran second behind Pierata in the Sydney Stakes on the Everest undercard.
“It’s a little bit pie in the sky but I’m always kicking up to be the people’s choice in the Everest,’’ he said.
“If we happened to win or run really well I can keep spruiking it.”