By Brad Gray
At Royal Randwick
Sam Weatherley On The Board
Champion New Zealand apprentice Sam Weatherley made a dream start to his three month stint in Australia, booting home She Knows.
"To move away from my family and friends back home is a big call but for it to pay off so early on is a thrill," beamed the nineteen-year-old.
"Words cant describe to win a race at Royal Randwick. At home as a young fella you watch the TV and you think 'I'd love to ride there one day' so to ride a winner here is huge. Hopefully it helps me get a few more rides."
Weatherley revealed some constructive criticism from Danny Williams, regarding his ride on My Blue Jeans earlier in the day, gave him the confidence to ride with more freedom.
"He said just go out there and back yourself. Ride like you are riding back home, don't worry about what you look like. That meant a lot. I took that in both hands and rode her how she felt," revealed Weatherley.
"The style of the races are a lot different. In New Zealand the tracks a very different and you're riding loose. Here it is tight, competitive racing."
Williams was not only full of praise for Weatherley but the stable's "Winx".
"She is an absolute gem. She is our Winx. We treat her like Winx," said Williams, who will endevour to pinch some black type with the three-year-old.
"She had too many guns for them. She has improved with every run."
Colt Has Always Made Kathy Smile
Kathy O’Hara offered an insight into how highly she rates You Make Me Smile, after the three-year-old colt led all the way at Royal Randwick, despite being the race outsider.
“I’ve got a lot of time for this colt. I actually got suspended and had the choice of riding this horse at Nowra one day or Siren's Fury in town and I rode him at Nowra so he better win me some races,” said O’Hara.
“It wasn’t the intention to lead today but it just panned out that way. I’m hoping with that under his belt he can learn to settle in his races, he is just a bit well and above himself.”
In this column a fortnight ago Andrew Adkins, who rode You Make Me Smile first up, gave a good push for the son of So You Think despite finishing closer to last than first on that occasion. He was on the money! Here’s a snippet:
Adkins’ comments after the race suggest he is a three-year-old worth following next time out, especially if he finds an easier race.
“He’s not a bad little horse, he’s got a nice style about him. I know he has won on a heavy track but he probably didn’t appreciate in that grade. He’s a nice horse in the making,” Adkins said.
As for the disappointing Easy Eddie, Jean Van Overmeire was left wondering if he isn't a wet tracker after all.
"I don’t know if he handled the ground. He didn’t let down like I expected," he said.
On The Highway To Better Things
Two 'N' Wellgo may no longer be eligible for Highway Handicaps but it won't be the last you see of the three-year-old in town according to Scone-based trainer Stephen Jones.
So, what has made the son of Equiano click?
"He has just improved, improved, improved since being gelded," said Jones.
That gelding operation was done three starts ago and since then he has won twice and run a second, in another Highway, in which Jones made excuses with Two 'N' Wellgo fluffing the start.
"I think he can go on, he can't do any more than he is at the moment. He is on the way up and is definitely a city (class) horse," said Jones.
"He is a young horse and I think he is going places."
As for the second-placed favourite, Nicconita, Christian Reith said upon dismounting, "She went well but couldn't accelerate on that track."
Special Missile 'Disappointing'
Was it the mile that pulled up Special Missile?
Punters Intel reveals that he had every possible chance to break through, getting a very easy time of it but he didn't find enough in his last 400m with the race winner Karavali clocking 11.61s/11.40s compared to Special Missile's 11.84s/11.55s.
Blaike McDougall, who knows the horse better than anyone, was candid in his assessment of the four-year-old after he started the shortest-priced favourite of the day at Royal Randwick.
"He just hasn’t come up this prep. He has run some nice races but he was very disappointing," he said.
Karavali dived right on the line to beat Dark Eyes with jockey Jay Ford unsure if he got the bob in, but said class shone through in the end.
"It was a very determined win," said Ford, "The tempo was sedate throughout and I got creeping a little bit earlier than what would have been ideal for her but just due to the way the race was won, I had to get myself into the race."