Jockey Sam Weatherley is making the most of his opportunities at present and heads to Riccarton on Saturday full of confidence. The 21-year-old has ridden a double at each of Awapuni, Te Rapa and Hastings on the past three Saturdays and hopes to continue that winning streak this weekend.
“Things are going really well at the moment, but with the way racing is, you’ve got to keep the momentum up as it can all change within a heartbeat,” Weatherely said.
The Matamata hoop has a nice book of rides in Christchurch and has picked up the mount on the Stephen Marsh-trained Bourbonaire, who will start third favourite in the Group 1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m). The American-owned son of Darci Brahma has finished close on the heels of race favourites Need I Say More and Aegon at his past two starts and Weatherley is looking forward to his first ride on the colt.
“I haven’t had a sit on him but I’ve seen his races and seen what he’s done and he has really impressed me,” he said. “Especially his last two starts. He all but won the Hawke’s Bay Guineas (Group 2, 1400m) and last start he chased home what will be the favourite on Saturday in Need I Say More. “It looks like he’ll run a strong mile so he’s got that in his favour. We’ve got a tricky draw (11) but we should follow Need I Say More across and hopefully he can dictate from up front and we’ll see who runs the stronger mile. “Stephen seemed pretty happy with him when he talked to me yesterday and he’s got the form on the board.”
Weatherley will get down to 53kgs to ride The Good Fight in the Listed Nautical Boat Insurance Metropolitan Trophy (2500m), with the Shaune Ritchie and Colm Murray-trained stayer well supported in to $4.60 favouritism. “He drops a lot in weight and obviously last start he carried 61.5kg and it was a pretty game effort,” Weatherley said. “He was up against Lincoln King there, who is probably his biggest rival on Saturday and he carried four kilos more than Lincoln King and meets him at level weights this weekend and that’s a big weight swing for a quality galloper.”
The six-year-old son of High Chaparral has won three of his 23 career starts and placed on nine occasions and Weatherley believes the horse has been luckless at times. “He probably should have won the Wellington Cup (Group 3, 3200m) when runner-up earlier this year and when you’re competing in these big races, it’s hard to win them. When he drops back in grade he’s got to carry these big weights all the time and it’s not easy on the horse. “He has been a victim of a few circumstances and on Saturday he’s got a great draw and great weight and hopefully it all works out well for him.”
With seven rides on the day, Weatherley believes the Michael and Matthew Pitman-trained Clubcard (race 3) will be one of his better chances on the day. Like a number of jockeys and trainers, the three-days of New Zealand Cup week will involve a fair bit of travel.
“I fly down on Saturday morning, then I’m back tomorrow night because we’ve got races at Te Aroha on Tuesday. “Then I’m back down on Wednesday and I’m still undecided whether I stay down from Wednesday and just come home next Saturday night or go backwards and forwards. “There’s a lot of travel involved (in being a jockey), but hopefully it’s worth it.”