Tauranga and Rosehill focus for Collett

Sweet Clementine
Sweet Clementine will contest the Listed PRH Transport Trophy (1600m) at Tauranga on Saturday. Photo: Kenton Wright

Richard Collett has two strong winning chances at Tauranga, including Sweet Clementine in the feature event on the card, and he will also be keeping a close watch on a potentially massive pay day for his children in Sydney.

The Pukekohe trainer has the in-form Sweet Clementine in Saturday’s Listed PRH Transport Trophy (1600m) and Cinnamon Star, who has also been in fine recent touch, in the Mills Reef Handicap (2200m).

However, even a winning double would pale into insignificance compared to the riches his daughter Alysha and son Jason will be chasing in the AUD$7.5 million Golden Eagle (1500m) at Rosehill.

Alysha will combine with the John O’Shea-trained Maximal, a three-quarter brother to the mighty Frankel making his Australian debut, while her brother Jason will guide the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-prepared Aegon.

Unfortunately, Maximal will jump from the widest stall of all in 21 with Aegon on his inside.

“They have both got awkward gates. Alysha’s horse is a strong chance and Jason’s horse goes well fresh, but the draws will make it tricky,” Collett said.

“Alysha said he is a really decent horse. They get used to riding for that sort of money and I was talking to Jason when he was on his way back from Gosford yesterday and he said it was just great to get a ride.

“Even if the track was off, you still need a decent gate so it is going to be hard for them.”

Meanwhile, Collett is hoping to bag another stakes race with last-start Listed Staphanos Classic (1950m) winner Sweet Clementine.

“She is in terrific form and we were planning to run her at Te Rapa next Tuesday, but with the forecast we thought we would put an entry in,” he said.

“With the way the handicap has come up, she’s on the minimum so she is reasonably well-placed. She hasn’t had a great record at 1600 metres, but she is good on the course.”

A half-sister to the dual Group Three winner Wealth Princess, Sweet Clementine has won twice on the track and the Sweet Orange mare also finished third in last season’s Listed Tauranga Classic (1400m).

“I think she will be competitive if the track is going to be as bad as I think it might be. It’s all about picking up as much black type as we can with her,” Collett said.

“It’s obviously a better field than she struck at Rotorua, but she is a very robust mare.”

Stablemate Cinnamon Star is genuine and finished third at her most recent appearance.

“We pulled out last week because the track had dried at Matamata and kept her for this race at Tauranga, where she won her maiden,” Collett said.

“She’s had three races over ground and all have been really good, the wet track won’t worry her at all.”

Collett also accepted with Rapid Recall in the NZB Pearl Insurance Series Race (1200m), but said the daughter of Niagara would be withdrawn due to expected Heavy 11 going.

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