The most successful jockey in recent Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) history has been presented with a gilt-edged opportunity of adding another classic to his record.
Vinnie Colgan has landed the ride on Scott Base, the current $5 co-favourite with Danzdanzdance for the Vodafone-sponsored feature at Ellerslie in a fortnight’s time.
The 42-year-old combined with trainer Roger James for his first three Derbys – Roysyn (1995), Zonda (1997) and Hades (1999).
Further success followed aboard Redoute’s Dancer (2007) for Sydney trainer Tim Martin, Habibi (2013) for the Logan stable and Tony Pike’s Rangipo (2016).
“It was a difficult decision for the owners and us to make, but we feel Vinnie is the perfect fit,” said Johno Benner, who trains the son of Dalghar with Hollie Wynyard. Scott Base has been ridden in recent starts by Rosie Myers, who won the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) on the gelding and guided him into fourth in Saturday’s Group 2 Avondale Guineas (2100m).
“The horse went well and obviously he has to get the 2400m, which we think he will,” Benner said.
“Hopefully, he can draw a softer gate in the Derby and can get a bit handier. There’s probably five or six winning chances and it will come down to who gets the right draw and best run.”
Benner said Scott Base has bounced through Saturday’s run and coped well with the travel.
“So far, so good and he’s come home in good order. He’s eating well and was out at the beach this morning, he’s a happy horse.”
Meanwhile, Benner is confident the Australian-owned Ocean Park filly Miss Valencia can show quick improvement on her debut third at Wanganui last week.
“She wasn’t screwed right down and she’s got a bright future,” he said. Miss Valencia is part-owned by successful Cranbourne trainer Mick Kent.
“He bought her at the sales with Phill Cataldo,” Benner said. “Phill and I are mates and one thing led to another. “If she’s good enough she’ll end up over there at some stage.”