Australian Turf Club hosts a celebration of jockeys past and present at Royal Randwick this Saturday along with the running of the first feature race of the new season.
National Jockeys Celebration Day is held in conjunction with the NSW Jockeys Association and includes races named in honour of three of Sydney’s former star jockeys in Cliff Clare, Bill Camer and Ray Selkrig, just a week after Sydney’s champion hoop James McDonald claimed his fifth Sydney Metropolitan Jockeys Premiership.
The Group 2 $200,000 Heineken Missile Stakes is the feature on a 10-race card and starts a series of pathway sprint races heading towards Sydney’s spectacular Everest Carnival this spring.
The Listed $150,000 Fujitsu General Rosebud for the three-year-olds is also a starting point towards the sought-after Group 1 $1 million De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose next month.
Australian Turf Club Executive General Manager Racing & Wagering, James Ross said Saturday’s meeting was an important recognition of the skill and dedication of jockeys, including those who had helped keep Sydney racing operating during COVID.
“National Jockeys Celebration Day is just one way we thank and honour all jockeys past and present for their skill and service to Sydney racing, which remains home to the strongest and most competitive riding ranks in the world,” Mr Ross said.
“The Australian Turf Club wants to particularly acknowledge the professionalism and diligence of all jockeys over the past 16 months in playing their crucial role in allowing our racing to continue during separate breakouts of the COVID pandemic.”
The Heineken Missile Stakes is the first Group race of the season and this year’s renewal features a strong line-up of sprinters embarking on the pathway to several races in spring including the Group 3 Show County Quality, Group 3 Concorde Stakes, Group 2 The Shorts and Group 2 Premiere Stakes before the ultimate prize in the $15 million TAB Everest.
Fasika ridden by Brenton Avdulla and trained by Joe Pride is the early $2.60 TAB favourite for the Group 2 $200,000 Heineken Missile Stakes.
The trainer has a strong record in the race with former top sprinter Rain Affair winning twice (2011 and 2013) and also leading in last year’s Missile Stakes with the stable’s latest star in Eduardo.
Viridine is the $4.80 TAB second favourite for Goldophin trainer James Cummings and jockey Kerrin McEvoy, ahead of multiple Group 1 winner Kolding ($5) for Sydney’s 11-time premiership trainer Chris Waller and reigning jockey champion in James McDonald.
Hawkes Racing and top Sydney jockey Tommy Berry combine with Remarque as the opening $3.30 TAB favourite in the Listed Fujitsu General Rosebud.
Paulele at $5 (James Cummings and James McDonald) and In The Congo at $4.80 (trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott and jockey Tim Clark) are next in a strong betting market.
The Royal Randwick track was rated a Good 4 on Wednesday afternoon. For all racing, ticketing and general information including the upcoming Everest Carnival in Spring go to TheRaces.com.au