By Ray Hickson
Popular jockey Linda Meech is an unabashed fan of in-form colt Star Fall but she also realises he faces his biggest test at Randwick on Saturday.
In one of the most intriguing clashes of the meeting, Star Fall will chase four straight wins in the 2019 Membership Handicap (1100m) against another emerging talent in Sylvia’s Mother who also has a hat-trick to her name.
Meech said Star Fall, trained by Ciaron Maher & David Eustace, is a horse with plenty of ability and still improving but until he meets a formidable opponent he’s hard to line up.
With 59kg and spotting Sylvia’s Mother 3.5kg, it’s safe to say he’s found one.
“He was good the other day, he didn’t do anything wrong, but he has to do it against better horses,’’ Meech said.
“He’s won four from six now. His other rwo runs, well, his first run in a race he did a heap wrong and he was beaten at Flemington over seven furlongs as a two-year-old.
“He has to keep improving but he will keep winning if he does.’’
Star Fall completed his hat-trick with a 2-1/4 length win at Randwick over 1000m two weeks ago where Meech sat him just off the pace and he was able to put the race away running 10.77 between the 400m and 200m (Punters Intelligence).
That was also under 59kg.
Meech, who is currently in the top five jockeys in Australia by wins, said she didn’t have a moment’s concern last start.
“I thought he would win, this Saturday might be a harder race and he has a big weight,’’ she said.
“I would think it would be easier to carry 59kg over 1100m than it would be over two miles.
“He hasn’t come up against really good horses yet so the proof will be in the pudding.’’
An easy win for Star Fall at Randwick on January 12
Star Fall opened favourite with TAB but punters quickly zeroed in on Sylvia’s Mother to take up top billing at $1.85 with Star Fall $2.30 on Wednesday.
Meech, who also trains one horse, became the first dual license holder to win in New South Wales when she steered Star Fall home two weeks ago then backed it up with a second win on Smart As some 40 minutes later.
She’s coming to Sydney for just the one ride on Saturday.
“I’m pretty happy to stick with him, I quite like him,’’ Meech said.
“He’s only a lightly raced horse so I can’t see why he won’t keep improving.’’