By Ray Hickson
It’s often said there’s a sense of timing about a horse but the same could be applied to jockey Regan Bayliss who chases a Group 1 at Randwick on Saturday and has the plum TAB Everest mount on Libertini.
Just over a month ago the 23-year-old decided to call Sydney home and partner with Anthony Cummings and he quickly became acquainted with the mare who would be his TAB Everest ride.
The trainer and jockey combine with Street Dancer in the Group 1 $1m Moet & Chandon Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) on Saturday then the focus goes on Libertini and the biggest mountain in racing.
Talk about being in the right place at the right time.
“When I arrived I had in the back of the mind that she was in the stable and was coming up to race soon,’’ Bayliss said.
“It was a phenomenal win the other day, it was very good timing to come here and I’m glad I've got the opportunity to ride her.
“I think any jockey in that room would love to win an Everest. It’d be great for my career.
“This is a race that is going to be around for many years to come. It’s only been around three years but it’s already a global sensation.”
Bayliss is no stranger to the TAB Everest. He partnered Redkirk Warrior in the inaugural Everest in 2017 and on the back of their Premiere Stakes win he’s adamant Libertini can win the race.
Importantly, he’s been on the four-year-old’s back since her first-up win and reports she’s not far off her top.
“I think she’s a better chance than Redkirk Warrior,’’ he said.
“He was phenomenal down the straight but didn’t have the credentials going into that style of race but she ticks a lot more boxes.
“I think there’s a little bit up the sleeve with Libertini, she’s still not 100 per cent in the coat.
“She feels to me she’s come out of the run beaming, there’s still a bit of water to go under the bridge but I wouldn’t swap her for any other horse.
“It’s very exciting and it’s going to be a really good next 10 days.”
Street Dancer might be a $26 chance with TAB in the Spring Champion Stakes but Bayliss is confident he can make up the couple of lengths he needs on Love Tap out of their clash a couple of weeks ago.
But Love Tap's not the only horse he has to beat and has a healthy respect for Flight Stakes winner Montefilia.
Love Tap held a 1.8 length margin in the Gloaming Stakes (1800m) but the barrier draw turned the race upside down and while Bayliss is drawn the outside he sees the fact Love Tap is one gate inside him as a boost for Street Dancer’s hopes.
“I actually don’t mind the barrier at all,’’ he said.
Street Dancer runs second in the Gloaming Stakes
“We’re out of the hustle and bustle and we have Love Tap drawn inside me. We can just flow across and find our spot and our rhythm.
“With a big robust colt not being cluttered up in between runners, drawn in the middle or the fence, it is a positive drawn out wide. When you first see it there’s some disappointment but when you dissect it there’s not as much a negative.’’
In the Gloaming, Love Tap was able to assume control in the lead and once that happened he was always going to be hard to outsprint.
Bayliss said his colt stuck on well to hold second and is counting on the race being more truly run this time around.
“It’s much more a high pressure race, they go up the extra distance and it’s a totally different race,’’ he said.
“I have respect for Love Tap and I’m glad he’s drawn right in my sights but he won’t get it as easy as he did the other day.”