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Collett Hopes Confidence Booster Rubs Off On Kimochi

By Ray Hickson

Kimochi’s timely breakthrough win did wonders for jockey Jason Collett’s confidence ahead of another Group 1 attempt at Randwick on Saturday and he hopes it rubbed off on the filly too.

Jockey Jason Collett. (Pic: Bradley Photos).

After a string of placings, including two at Group 1 level, the Gary Portelli-trained filly was able to notch her second career win in the Light Fingers and, while things went her way, Collett said the style of the win suggests the Group 1 $750,000 Drinkwise Surround Stakes (1400m) is within reach.

All eyes have been on the runner-up Learning To Fly, who is a clear favourite for the Surround, but Collett said there’s no dominant filly among the three-year-olds.

“We fought her off definitely,’’ Collett said.

“We were fortunate the two favourites drew wide and we drew soft and were able to get a soft run.

“Learning To Fly was given a peach of a ride and if he’s got up it would have been one of the best rides in some time. But late I felt we fought her off and we were stronger after the line too.

“There’s isn’t much at all between these fillies, there’s no standout and last start it was evident from the barrier draws that it was the difference.”

In the Light Fingers, Collett was able to position Kimochi on the back of the speed from barrier three.

Collett said he took note of where his main rivals drew in the Surround, they are alongside each other, and is confident Kimochi, $6.50 with TAB on Friday, can snare the Group 1.

It’s been a good season so far for Collett who notched his 50th city win for 2023/24 recently, that number already matches his haul from the previous season, but a Group 1 win for long time supporter Portelli would be satisfying.

“We’ve had enough throws at the stumps, we’ll get there one day,’’ he said.

“She came back great. She had a nice barrier the other day which was probably the difference compared to last prep where she kept coming up short late.

“She was always getting there too late as opposed to first-up where they had to run her down and they couldn’t.

“There was never a thought she wasn’t genuine but as it does start to trend that way you start to wonder.”

Storm Boy looms large over the Group 2 $300,000 Catanach’s Jewellers Skyline Stakes (1200m) but Collett is keen to see what Duvana can produce after a promising debut behind another leading Slipper hope.

The Chris Waller-trained colt was unable to fully stretch out on the inside as he worked home into fifth in Switzerland’s Pierro Plate (1100m) two weeks ago.

“We didn’t have a lot of room at all in the straight and I didn’t really let him go at all,’’ Collett said.

Kimochi wins the Light Fingers Stakes

“He was good through the line and gave a good impression that he’s a nice type going forward.

“At his first start he came up against Switzerland who I guess is your number two (Slipper) seed and without much luck he didn’t finish too far off him.

“It wouldn’t be a bad thing to be placing in this company at the moment.”

All the fields, form and replays for Saturday's Randwick meeting

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