This Saturday jockey Tye Angland is out to atone for his loss on the beaten favourite from 12 months ago when he returns for the Golden Rose Stakes ride on the Chris Waller-trained Nikitas.
Angland rode Waller’s star son of Hinchinbrook Press Statement twice as a juvenile including the 2015 JJ Atkins win in Brisbane, but things went amiss for the duo the next season.
First-up Angland’s mount did a brave job under 60kg to run second to the John O’Shea-trained Exosphere in the Run To The Rose.
He then jumped as a $3 fancy for the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m), but Angland got caught in a horror run aboard Press Statement and could only manage to cross 3.2 lengths away fifth to the winner Exosphere.
Angland was subsequently sacked from the saddle with Hugh Bowman jumping on to win aboard Press Statement twice more that season in the Group2 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) by three lengths and in Melbourne’s Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
The Golden Rose Stakes result and subsequent consequences have haunted Angland over the last year, but he is ready to come back into the three-years-old classic this weekend at Rosehill Gardens without as much pressure.
“Scissor Kick four deep, out-bobbed on the line then last year I went into the race thinking I could win but in the small field it got tactical and tricky and I found myself in a spot of bother on the turn and then the rest is history,” Angland told Racenet speaking of last year’s Golden Rose Stakes run.
“It got to me. It took me a long time to get rolling again after last year’s race.
“The whole experience was character building. You live and learn, I’ve moved on from it.
“I’m going into Saturday knowing I’m riding well and looking forward to the challenge.”
This year Waller gives him a shot at redemption aboard his $61 outsider in markets at Ladbrokes.com.au, Nikitas.
The two are drawn in barrier eight in the 14-starter Golden Rose field, a gate that last produced a winner with Epaulette (2012).
Waller’s Snitzel colt has had seven starts to date for just the one win back in his race debut at Doomben in December last year, which he won by nearly five lengths.
He is a dual Group placegetter, including behind Attention in Brisbane’s Group 2 BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1350m) in late May, and comes into the Golden Rose second-up.
His first run of the spring was a fortnight back at the Rosehill track when putting in an eye-catching run for sixth, beaten four and a half lengths as a $61 outsider behind Astern in the Run To The Rose, after getting caught wide with no cover.
“He wasn’t entitled to stick on as well as he did first-up,” Angland said of Nikita’s last start.
“I really think he’s going to be much better suited at 1400 metres.”
Angland added that being on one of the forgotten horses in the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival classic allowed him to prepare for the ride without the pressure that surrounded him last year.
“I’m on a horse the market doesn’t really respect so we’ll go out and do our own thing,” he said.
“He’s a tough horse, he showed me that first-up. He’ll be fitter and I really think he can run a great race.”
Waller won the Golden Rose Stakes three years ago with Zoustar (2013) and of course also saddles-up the early favourite in 2016 Omei Sword.
The money continues to roll in for the daughter of High Chaparral to become the first Golden Rose Stakes winning filly since Forensics (2008).
She comes off a Group 2 Silver Shadow Stakes (1200m) success against her own kind, but from barrier three with Hong Kong-based Brazilian Joao Moreira booked for the ride, the bookmakers are taking no chances.
Waller though isn’t ruling out at top three finish by Nikitas for the stable.
“I definitely think he’ll run in the first five and if he gets some luck and runs a strong 1400, I think he’s a good chance of being in the first three,” the master horseman said.