By Ray Hickson
Jockey Sam Clipperton can only hope Vadiyann has taken as much confidence out of their first pairing two weeks ago as the rider has ahead of their rematch with Harpo Marx at Rosehill on Saturday.
The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained import made a bold bid for victory over the Rosehill 2000m only to be cut down in the shadows by Harpo Marx but there’s a 2kg swing in his favour to say the ANZ Bloodstock News Handicap (2000m) is going to be an interesting contest.
Especially when you add promising Chris Waller import Great House into the equation.
Clipperton has been building a successful partnership with Waterhouse and Bott in recent weeks through another front-running stayer in Sacramento and is quietly confident he can get the best out of Vadiyann.
“He’s a little bit of a tricky horse to ride, he takes a lot of riding,’’ Clipperton said.
“He doesn’t have much of a turn of foot but he can certainly sustain a gallop.
“I was bowling along nicely the other day and there didn’t appear to be any horses that had a great turn of foot through the field so I thought if I could make it a true staying test that’s our best chance. We nearly pulled it off.
“Whether I do something similar on Saturday I’m not sure but he would have taken a bit of confidence out of it. There’s no reason why he won’t run very well again.”
It’s fair to say the six-year-old has been hit and miss in his five Australian starts to date but Clipperton was encouraged by how he responded to the removal of the nose band and having the blinkers reinstated last start.
When you’re riding a horse like Vadiyann, a genuine on pace stayer, there isn’t a lot of margin for error but Clipperton said it’s all about assessing how a race is panning out on a horse you know won’t be lacking in fitness.
“You sum up the speed and naturally if something wants to go too fast you sit off it,’’ he said.
“The biggest thing is you always know with Gai and Adrian you’re on a fit horse and when challenged you know they are going to fight to the death so as a jockey it gives you confidence going into the race.”
There’s a sense of unfinished business from the 27-year-old when it comes to reuniting with Star Of The Seas in the Group 2 $200,000 Iron Jack Expressway Stakes (1200m).
Clipperton recorded three Group 1 second placings – the Doncaster, Winx Stakes and George Main - on Star Of The Seas in 2020 and is looking for a first-up pointer to say it’ll be his turn at the top level during the looming carnival.
“He’s been racing very well in those big Group 1s, it’d be lovely to break through on him for self satisfaction and to repay the faith of Chris Waller and the team and the horse’s connections,’’ he said.
“Whether that is Saturday or later on in the autumn carnival. Hopefully he can put in a bold run and indicate he is in for a big preparation.”
In his favour, the gelding is a proven first-up performer and every drop of rain that falls until post time will only help him so has been kept safe with TAB at $6.50.
Vadiyann runs second at Rosehill on January 16
“If we can just be three or four lengths off them on straightening he is going to be hitting the line very strongly and he’s trialled well going into the race,’’ Clipperton said.
Among his other rides is a Waller two-year-old debutant Giannis in the Group 3 $160,000 Canonbury Stakes (1100m) who has a good form pointer through his latest barrier trial that piqued Clipperton’s interest.
The colt finished second to Stay Inside in the 900m heat on January 15.
“He showed a lot of improvement from his first trial to his second trial which gives me confidence,’’ Clipperton said.
“There’s already form around him. He looks a horse that will position up midfield or second half and hit the line strongly and I’d expect him to be very competitive.”