Godolphin jockey William Buick has gone for potential over experience in choosing Trekking as his mount in Saturday G1 Golden Slipper Stakes at Rosehill.
Buick had the choice of trainer John O’Shea’s two runners in the rich juvenile feature, but went for Trekking despite the colt’s outside barrier braw, leaving the mount on stablemate Veranillo to local rider Brenton Avdulla.
Buick, who arrived in Sydney last week to cover for the injured James Doyle, rode both colts on the training track on Tuesday morning, declaring each of them to have good prospects.
The 28-year-old said he had also studied video of each colt’s races in a crash-course on Australian two-year-old form.
William Buick has ridden in one Golden Slipper and told @SkySportsRadio1 today he feels you need a horse that can quicken off race pressure.— Andrew Bensley (@AndrewBensley) March 14, 2017
In the end, it was Trekking’s last start second when first-up in the G3 Black Opal Stakes in Canberra that swayed him.
“It was very hard to pick between them, I just thought that if he’d had a bit more luck in Canberra last time he could have won,” Buick said.
“He looks like a colt who is gearing himself up for a big one. He hasn’t been in the same company as Veranillo, but he feels like a class colt, I think he’s a horse with untapped potential.”
Trekking will start from the outside gate in the 16-horse field with Veranillo drawing 11.
John O’Shea, who trains both colts, has introduced blinkers to the raceday kit of the four-start veteran Veranillo in a bid to help him find the extra needed to get into the finish of the A$3.5m race.
“Blinkers go on for the first time and they seemed to have the right effect on him this morning in his work at Osborne Park,” O’Shea said.
“He’s drawn a nice gate for his style of racing. There’s a lot of speed inside and there’s a lot of speed outside.
“I think he’s going to be in a nice cruising position about five lengths off the speed and hopefully he can get to the right part of the track.”
UK jockey William Buick elects to ride Trekking despite the barrier draw. The star hoop says Trekking is "a very nice colt" @HorseBettingAU— Todd Davey (@ToddJDavey) March 14, 2017
Like Buick, he was impressed with Trekking’s run in the Black Opal when the colt finished off strongly behind the winner Trapeze Artist at his first run since winning on debut in December.
“I thought his run was outstanding in the Black Opal, he’s a colt with a lot of quality and a lot of class,” he said.
With the likelihood of a rain-affected track at Rosehill on Saturday, the outside gate may prove a blessing for Trekking in a race that has an abundance of early speed.
The fillies Houtzen and She Will Reign are rated the leading contenders and both have wide barriers and natural brilliance, which suggests they will go forward.
Also among the top prospects is the G1 Blue Diamond Stakes winner Catchy who has barrier eight and the Pierro filly Tulip who has 10.
On a day that also featured two stable “quinellas”, it was Buick and It’s Somewhat who scored the biggest success, taking out the G2 Ajax Stakes at Rosehill.
On only the second day of his latest Australian riding stint, Buick produced a gem to get It’s Somewhat home just ahead of New Tipperary.
Buick made all his ground along the fence, hitting the lead 100m out and fighting strongly to the line.
“This is a really honest horse … the further we went, the better he went,” Buick said.
Trainer John O’Shea is likely to seek a G1 victory for the six-year-old in Brisbane later in the year following a win today that took his racetrack earnings to almost A$1-million.
“Ultimately, I’d like to get him to the Doomben Cup,” O’Shea said.
“He ran fourth in it last year and I’m planning to get him there on fresher legs this time.”
O’Shea also expressed his gratitude at having Buick in Sydney as a replacement for James Doyle who is out of action after injuring a hand and knee in a fall last month.
Buick opened his account at Rosehill with success on the French import Spectroscope who was having his first run for O’Shea in the ungraded Schweppes Handicap.
“William rode him beautifully,” O’Shea said.
“We’re honoured that His Highness Sheikh Mohammed has sent him down here.”
The Group-race double was completed by the progressive filly Circular claimed her first black-type success in the G3 Shweppervescence Trophy.
Ridden by Hong Kong’s champion jockey Joao Moreira, Circular lasted by a nose to beat Zasorceress.
Assistant trainer Billy Jackson Stops gave credit for the win to the team effort that had seen Circular pass through Godolphin’s Osborne Park and Crown Lodge stables in Sydney before coming to Carbine Lodge at Flemington.
“She’s benefitted from getting the best of all the expertise that’s available,” Jackson Stops said.
“We’d thought about running her in the G1 mares race in Sydney but John decided this was her level and she’s done everything right to get over the line.”
The remaining winners came at Newcastle where the stable featured in the unusual situation of one of its runners being awarded a race on protest from another Godolphin runner.
Obscura had crossed the line a half-length clear of Istria, but had veered left over the final 100m and taken the running of its stablemate. After an inquiry, stewards duly awarded the race to Istria.
Earlier on the card the Godolphin pair Florid and Ataraxia fought out the finish of the Two-Year-Old Maiden, with the former gaining the verdict.
The remaining winner at Newcastle, and the sixth for the day for Godolphin and O’Shea, was Vigilance in the Class 2 Handicap.
In a poignant moment, Terry was awarded with the perpetual Godolphin Trophy by special guest presenter Freddy Tylicki alongside presenter Ed Chamberlin and Champion Jump Jockey Richard Johnson at an event hosted by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA).
He was also presented with a cheque for the total of a staggering £40,000, of which £20,000 will be shared amongst the staff at the Watership Down Stud, part of £120,000 in prize money which was awarded on the evening by sponsors Godolphin.
Terry has been Stud Manager of Watership Down for 24 years and was earlier in the evening presented the prize as winner of the Stud Staff Award. When he arrived in 1992, bringing with him a wealth of experience, the Stud had no name, no horses and no post and rails. Terry’s professionalism, integrity and dedication has helped shape what the Stud has become today.
Terry has helped develop the prestigious broodmare band, has never missed a foaling, personally feeds each horse and leads the dedicated team from the front. What he has given to Watership Down, the Lloyd Webbers, their horses and thoroughbred breeding, both on the track and in the sales ring, is exceptional.
Brough Scott, Chairman of the Judging Panel, commented:
“The finalists were of a quite exceptional standard and it was really inspiring for the judges to hear their stories. However, in the end, Terry emerged as a clear and very fine winner and I am sure he will be a great ambassador for the sport.”
The Awards ceremony took place at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in London’s Knightsbridge in front of a specially invited audience from across the racing industry to celebrate the vital role of stud and stable staff in the racing industry and the care which they provide to the horses they look after.
The winners of the Awards were decided at a formal judging day at the BHA’s London office in the morning before the ceremony, where the finalists were interviewed by members of the judging panel.
The other category winners on the night were: Elisha Whittington from Tom Dascombe’s Manor House Stables who took the David Nicholson Newcomer Award; Brian Meehan’s assistant trainer Rory O’Dowd who took the Leadership Award; Jamie Bunsell of Paul Henderson Racing who was successful in the Rider/Groom category; and Head Lad to Sir Mark Prescott Colin Nutter whose 45 years caring for horses at Heath House earned him the Dedication to Racing Award.
Also honoured was Sarah Monkman whose work raising the profile of Racing Welfare saw her land the Rory MacDonald Community Award, which is in just its second year.
The winners of the Leadership, Rider Groom, Stud Staff and Dedication to Racing categories received a prize of £5,000 with an additional £5,000 also being awarded to the winner’s yard or stud. The two runners-up in these categories won £2,000 each, with the same amount going to their yard or stud.
The winner of the Rory MacDonald Community Award received a prize of £5,000 with an additional prize of £5,000 going to the charity of their choice. The two runners-up won £2,000 each with the same amount going to their charity of choice.
The winner of the David Nicholson Newcomer Award received £2,000, with the same amount going to their yard or stud, while two runners-up received £1,000 each, with the same amount for their yard. They also win a five-day educational trip to Dubai to learn more about the country’s racing, culture and customs. The prize includes a return flight and five nights’ accommodation at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel’s five-star resort.
The Employee of the Year received an additional £15,000, with the same amount awarded to their yard or stud.
The full list of winners and runners up are as follows:
Employee of the Year: Terry Doherty – Watership Down Stud
Leadership Award: Rory O’Dowd – Brian Meehan
Michael Finn – Graeme McPherson
Hayley Kelly – Mark Johnston
Rider/Groom Award: Jamie Bunsell – Paul Henderson
Jason Favell – William Haggas
Chetan Singh – Andrew Balding
Stud Staff Award: Terry Doherty – Watership Down Stud
Jo Brown – Overbury Stud
James Fitz-John – Swanbridge Bloodstock
Dedication to Racing Award: Colin Nutter – Sir Mark Prescott
Kim Jones – Malcolm Saunders
Bryn Walker – Hugo Palmer
David Nicholson Newcomer Award Elisha Whittington – Tom Dascombe
Anthony Lynch – Wadacre Stud
June Palmer Kimpton – Ben Haslam
Rory Macdonald Community Award: Sarah Monkman – Racing Welfare
Gary Humphries – Godolphin
Kevin Parsons – National Association of Stable Staff