By Ray Hickson
Jockey Jason Collett is hoping a win or two at Warwick Farm on Saturday can in some way make up for the disappointment of missing the ride on Happy Clapper, when he takes on Winx next weekend, through suspension.
Collett was all set to replace Blake Shinn on one of Sydney’s most popular horses in the Apollo Stakes but hours after the call up was also suspended and on Friday failed to have the ban overturned so will remain on the sidelines.
But he’ll be front and centre on Inglis Millennium day chasing a Group 2 win on Egyptian Symbol in the Breeders’ Classic and rides one of the more interesting youngsters on the day in blueblood filly Steel Diamond.
Collett said he’s concerned about a likely lack of pace in the Breeders’ Classic (1200m) but if Egyptian Symbol produces the Pegasus-like burst that swept her to a first-up win on Magic Millions day she’s a strong contender.
“She really sprouted wings didn’t she,’’ Collett said.
Egyptian Symbol's explosive first-up win at the Gold Coast on January 12
“The tempo of the race suited but ridden quietly like that she showed what she can do when she’s not used up in the first half of the race.’’
Egyptian Symbol is the $6 third favourite with TAB on Friday behind her Bjorn Baker stablemate Champagne Cuddles ($2.70) aiming to go one better than last year when she started favourite but couldn’t catch Prompt Response.
Collett expects the likes of Alassio and Champagne Cuddles to be setting the tempo and will form an opinion after talking with the trainer on how Egyptian Symbol will be ridden.
“I’ll see what Bjorn wants to do but if we ride her like last time she will be getting back and relying on tempo which on paper there doesn’t look a lot of,’’ he said.
“There’s not a lot of pressure, they could potentially get it quite easy in front.
“I’ve given her the last two gallops and I’m very happy with her, she’s coming into the race very well.’’
The full sister to exciting colt and Everest runner Graff, Steel Diamond, will create plenty of interest in the Listed $140,000 Darley Lonhro Plate (1100m).
A $320,000 buy, Steel Diamond has won both her trials this time in, having trialled back in October, with Collett on board and he says trainer Rick Worthington has a handy youngster.
“I like her, she’s improved in both trials and I think she has a fair bit of ability,’’ he said.
“In her last trial at Randwick she was quite powerful through the line, she ran it out strong, she’s just improving each time around.’’
Collett ride odds-on favourite Time To Reign to his last win late last year so he has a fair idea of what Steel Diamond ($17) is up against on debut.
While he has respect for the unbeaten colt he’s certain Steel Diamond can hold her own.