NZ jockey Opie Bosson has made a quick trip to Australia to get back before a travellers’ curfew.
Leading New Zealand jockey Opie Bosson has made a quick turnaround to get back to Australia to ride the high-profile Te Akau team at the Sydney carnival.
Bosson rode Melody Belle to third in Saturday’s All-Star Mile in Melbourne and returned to New Zealand with trainer Jamie Richards.
But with Australia to impose self-isolation conditions on international arrivals from Monday because of the coronavirus crisis, Bosson was on his way to Sydney on a flight scheduled to arrive on Sunday evening.
Te Akau will have Melody Belle, Probabeel and Te Akau Shark competing over the next few weeks.
All three are Group One winners in Australia with Te Akau Shark favourite for Saturday’s George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill.
Te Akau principal David Ellis said in a statement the team had a plan in place to ensure the horses’ preparations would run smoothly with Richards to remain in New Zealand.
“Te Akau Racing can confirm that stable rider Opie Bosson is currently en route back to Australia and is scheduled to land in Sydney this evening,” Ellis said.
“There is no question that the current global environment is a changing landscape literally hour by hour.
“We have three of New Zealand’s highest rated horses settled in Australia with important autumn campaigns ahead.
“Te Akau has had a number of protocols and strategies ready to swing in to immediate action should such travel restrictions become reality. Therefore it is a very streamlined and straightforward process for us to ensure Melody Belle (currently en route to Sydney), Te Akau Shark and Probabeel continue on their autumn Group paths.
“Paul Richards, one of our senior team, who has been looking after Melody Belle will relocate from Melbourne to Sydney on Tuesday where he will oversee the trio.
“Paul is one of the very best horsemen you will find.
“Together with Ashley Handley, who has been in Sydney for some weeks with Te Akau Shark and Probabeel, our trio is in superb hands.
“Opie Bosson will arrive in Sydney tonight before the self-isolation curfew kicks in.
“Have no fear our team will continue to make its presence felt in Sydney. We will be proudly flying the Kiwi flag!”
Plans for other New Zealand horses are now in limbo.
Trainer Shaune Ritchie had been considering bringing Saturday’s New Zealand Oaks winner Jennifer Eccles to Sydney for the Australian Oaks on April 11 while Japanese horses including Doncaster Mile favourite Mozu Ascot were due to arrive with their handlers on Tuesday.