By Ray Hickson
Koby Jennings has been working hard to establish his own niche in the riding ranks but jumped at the chance to ride exciting colt Diplomatico at Randwick on Saturday.
It’s been two years since the 23-year-old completed his apprenticeship and he admits being torn between trying to break into the tough city ranks and setting up shop as a leading provincial rider.
“Lately the main focus has been the provincials on a Saturday,’’ Jennings said.
“There was a time, a little while ago, I was skipping between riding in town and the provincials.
“Then when the week came I needed to go to the provincials it was tough getting rides because I didn’t have much momentum but now it’s the focus and I'm getting five, six, seven rides and good rides too.’’
That said, Jennings didn’t hesitate when Michael Hawkes’ name came up on his phone earlier this week.
Brenton Avdulla was originally set to continue his association with Diplomatico in the Listed $150,000 Southern Cross Group Brian Crowley Stakes (1200m) but a knee injury put paid to that giving Jennings an opportunity at his second career stakes win.
The first came two years ago on board Danish Twist in the Listed June Stakes also at Randwick.
“It’s good of the stable to put me on, they’ve been my biggest supporter since I came out of my time,’’ Jennings said.
“Michael rang me late on Tuesday and asked what I was doing on Saturday, I don’t think I had too many rides at that stage.
“He said if it wasn’t a hassle to get off them, and one of them was for him anyway, I could ride.’’
Of course Jennings hasn’t ridden the heavily backed Diplomatico – who opened $6 on Wednesday but has quickly firmed to $3 favourite with TAB - as yet.
But he’s going to make certain he’s well versed on the colt’s quirks by bending Avdulla’s ear quite a bit prior to race day.
“Brenton’s really one of the good guys, to me anyway,’’ he said.
“He’s helped me out a lot with bits and pieces, when I was an apprentice I didn’t even have to ask.’’
An easy win for Diplomatico at Randwick on October 1
Diplomatico created a huge impression on debut back in June running a close second to Ronstar at Rosehill.
The $1.7m purchase made light work of a 1300m maiden on the Kensington track on October 1, winning by over four lengths and running a last 600m of 34.51 (Punters Intel) which is some 0.7 faster than any other runner in the race.
“Looking at his replays, he’s a stakes class horse and I don’t think anyone will disagree with that,’’ Jennings said.
“If he can get through the conditions everything should play out well.
“He looks like he can get a bit keen in his races, I’ll talk to Brenton about that, but he’s second-up this time and comes back 100m.’’
Jennings also partners Firsthand for the Hawkes stable in the ClubsNSW Handicap (1200m). The six-year-old rresumed with a closing fourth behind Tactical Advantage at the long weekend Kensington meeting.