Trainer Kelly Schweida hopes Damian Browne is as good a judge as he is a jockey with his decision to ride Miss Cover Girl in the Tattersall’s Tiara at Eagle Farm.
Browne had offers to ride four other horses in the final Group One race of the season but has chosen Miss Cover Girl who was a last start fourth in the QTC Cup.
He has ridden Miss Cover Girl several times, his most recent ride came two runs back when the mare was seventh in the Bright Shadow Stakes.
Browne rode the feature double at Ipswich last Saturday before combining with Schweida to win on Arteta at Doomben on Wednesday.
“You don’t need me to tell you Damian is a world class jockey. I like to get him when I can and I am obviously thrilled he has agreed to ride Miss Cover Girl,” Schweida said.
He is confident Miss Cover Girl will run a strong 1400 metres and will be much fitter on Saturday.
“Miss Cover Girl loomed as the winner in the QTC Cup but she just ran out of steam near the line because the Oaks day wash-out meant it had been three weeks between runs for her,” Schweida said.
The mare has won in Group Three company, when she took out the PJ Bell Stakes as a three-year old but Schweida believes she is capable of winning a Group One.
Schweida has a soft spot for the Tiara because he won his first Group One race when Nova Star took the race in 2007.
“It is always a good race and usually won by a top mare. Of course things didn’t go right at the barrier draw. I was second last to draw a barrier and three and nine were left,” he said.
“No prizes for guessing I drew nine but it might not be a disadvantage.”
Rival trainer Ciaron Maher is equally unfazed after race favourite Azkadellia drew barrier 11 of 16.
“Barriers don’t mean much for her as she gets back and works into her races. We just need for her to get cover and a clear run in the straight,” Maher said.
Azkadellia has mixed beach work with visits to the track since her failure as favourite in the Stradbroke Handicap two weeks ago.
Maher won the Tiara last year with Srikandi and is confident Azkadellia can give him back-to-back wins in the race.
“They are different types of mares, with Srikandi racing up on the pace and Azkadellia liking to get back and work home. But they both have that class factor,” he said.