By Ray Hickson
In-form jockey Jason Collett knows he has the job ahead to turn around the fortunes of out of form Godolphin veteran Duca Valentinois when the pair are reunited at Hawkesbury on Wednesday.
Three years ago Collett combined with the now nine-year-old to win the Listed $150,000 Lander Toyota Ladies Day Cup (1600m) and hasn’t ridden the gelding since March 2018.
In the interim Duca Valentinois has won two more races, the latest in Brisbane in June last year, but he hasn’t been placed in nine starts since his last win and has failed to beat a horse home in his past two starts including a 14 length defeat at Randwick on October 24.
Collett, who also won the Ladies Day Cup in 2018 on Pecans, said he has to have faith in the Godolphin machine to find a way to bring the horse, $23 with TAB, back to somewhere near his best form.
“He’s just going to have to be given every chance and it’s really up to him if he can reverse that form,’’ Collett said.
“At his last run he struggled but the track was deteriorating so I put a line through it.
“From the inside gate with the weight (56.5kg) he is going to get his chance. It’s a suitable race quality wise for him.”
It's been a huge spring for Collett, who claimed his second Group 1 on Montefilia in the Spring Champion Stakes and partnered Gytrash to a third in the TAB Everest and a stunning win in the Yes Yes Yes Stakes.
Just last weekend he secured a Group 2 win for Godolphin on board Savatiano in the Hot Danish Stakes and is keen to make the most of every opportunity for the blue team.
“It’s getting the job done that’s the main thing,’’ Collett said.
“On one side it’s good to get the opportunities but you have to get the results as well. That’s what is expected of you, a lot of them are good rides that are in the market.”
Four of Collett’s nine Hawkesbury rides are for his partner Clare Cunningham and he’s expecting Super One Susie to be hard to beat in the Fowler Civil Contracting Plate (1300m).
The filly has been a beaten favourite in both recent starts, including a length second at Kembla on October 15, but Collett said she’s close to a win.
“She’s going well and is starting to put it together,’’ he said.
“She did things wrong early in her career but the penny is starting to drop, it’s a nice small field and a suitable race for her.”
Super One Susie runs second at Kembla on October 15
He said Big Lion, who resumes in the Atkinson Turner Community Support Plate (1300m), is still a work in progress but appears more switched on this preparation.
Significance steps up in distance in the Elite Sand & Soil Handicap (2000m) on the back of a disappointing third-up performance at Newcastle.
Collett rode the four-year-old first-up, where he ran third at Goulburn under 61.5kg, and has the fingers crossed that he can bounce back.
“He put a couple of good runs together but last start was a bit plain,’’ he said.
“Things didn’t work out in the race, hopefully the extra ground can open a few doors for him.”