Shaun Fannin is currently caught in a tussle with northern hoop Shaun Phelan for the lead in the jumps jockey premiership and he is hoping to gain an advantage at Wanganui on Thursday.
The local jockey has a quality book of rides, headed by the Kevin Myers-trained Mandalay in the Pro Powder Coating Open Steeplechase (4100m).
The nine-year-old mare has been in pleasing form of late, winning at Wanganui two starts back before finishing runner-up behind her star stablemate Tallyho Twinkletoe in the Grand National Steeplechase (5600m) at Riccarton last month.
“Her three jumping starts this season have been very good,” Fannin said.
“Her win at Wanganui and her run at Riccarton were on extremely heavy tracks, which she really seems to appreciate, but she probably won’t get it as heavy tomorrow.
“Her work has been very good lately and I am expecting her to be very competitive in a weaker field than what she has been running against.”
Fannin is also looking forward to partnering stablemate Fantasy Flight in the Palamountains Nutrition Open Hurdle 3000.
The seven-year-old mare has shown plenty of ability over hurdles to date, winning and placing in her two starts.
“She won by a big margin down at Riccarton on a very heavy track and looks like a mare on the way up,” Fannin said.
“She gets in with a very good weight (64.5kg) tomorrow in what is probably not the strongest field.
“I think she should be a definite winning chance in that.”
Rounding out Fannin’s trio of rides is the Mark Oulaghan-trained West Coast in the Wanganui Function Centre Maiden Steeplechase 4100.
“He has had two hurdle starts and both have been full of merit, “ Fannin said.
“I schooled him yesterday and he jumped very well. I think he has got a very bright future.”