By Ray Hickson
A Group 1 race is the pinnacle for most jockeys but Rachel King looks at Saturday’s $7.5m Iron Jack Golden Eagle as an occasion to cement herself as a big race rider.
Of course King is already a Group 1 winning rider, she claimed the 2018 Spring Champion Stakes on Maid Of Heaven, but you can bet she’s considered what it would mean to win the inaugural Golden Eagle on Joe Pride’s promising mare Fasika.
“You can’t help but think about it,’’ she said.
“It would be huge, I’m lucky I’ve had a Group 1 winner already. I was lucky to get that fairly early in my career.
“A race like this is definitely that next level, it could be the difference between having a super successful career and being middle of the road. It’s very exciting to think what the future could hold if I could win a race like this.
“There’s going to be so many people watching and hopefully I can make the most of the opportunity.’’
King was Sydney’s champion apprentice in 2017-18 and she wasted no time establishing herself as a regular among the tough jockey ranks in the Harbour City.
That Group 1 win came not long after her apprenticeship ended so it was a timely one and in Fasika the 29-year-old sees a horse that is capable of anything, so that makes the challenge exciting.
Fasika has only raced five times, she won her first three starts and in her two runs this spring has been beaten narrowly into second place – the latest of those in the Silver Eagle (1300m) three weeks ago.
“We’ve got no idea how good she is really, last preparation she kept taking that step from a maiden up to a stakes race and this time in she’s run two very good races,’’ King said.
“You can put her wherever, it’s not like she has a set racing pattern where she has to be in a certain spot to run to her best.
“We’re going to need that little bit of luck. I’m not too worried about the draw because I have a few horses around me that go back and a bit of speed out wide.’’
King is approaching how the race will be run with an open mind and expects Pride to have a plan in mind so how Fasika is ridden will likely be a mixture.
The Silver Eagle was King’s first ride on Fasika and while she was run down by The Inevitable the run has King brimming with confidence that a career best effort is brewing with the step up to 1500m.
Fasika runs second in the Silver Eagle at Randwick on October 12
“I don’t think I’ve ever been that excited to run second,’’ she said.
“She just hit a peak 50m before the post fitness wise because she had a month between runs.
“I got off her and I was very excited afterwards because I knew how much she would improve.
“This has always been her grand final, the race Joe has had her aimed for, I know she is going to be 110 per cent come Saturday.’’
Despite her faultless record, Fasika is a $23 chance with TAB. She started $3.30 in the Silver Eagle and was beaten by a head or so while The Inevitable is a $10 chance.
Ten per cent of all prizemoney from the $7.5 million Iron Jack Golden Eagle will be donated to charity and the connections of Fasika have elected to support the Danii Meads-Barlow Foundation for people living with Diabetes.