Group 1 winning jockey Ben Melham will re-unite with the in-form Hazard when she lines up in the Group 1 $500,000 Sky Racing Tattersall’s Club Tiara (1400m) at the Gold Coast on Saturday.
Melham has been aboard the Lee and Anthony Freedman trained Hazard in three of her last five starts, including two wins, but missed out her latest victory when James McDonald steered the mare to a one and quarter lengths win over the Chris Waller trainer Catkins in the Group 2 $300,000 Best Security Dane Ripper Stakes (1350m) at Doomben on June 6.
But Melham has been recalled for Saturday’s assignment with McDonald heading off to England to take up duties for the Godolphin stable.
McDonald is the number one rider for Godolphin’s Australian Racing operation under the care of trainer John O’Shea and will be sharing the Godolphin riding in England with William Buick and James Doyle.
Hazard has won four of her last five starts and will be trying to make it four wins on the trot in the fillies and mare Group 1 on Saturday.
Melham was aboard Hazard when she scored first up over 1000m in a BenchMark 90 Handicap at Sandown on April 10 then the pair finished seventh to Politeness in the Listed $120,000 TROA Bel Esprit Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on April 18.
Apprentice Tom Sadler was given the mount when the Flying Spur mare won an 1100m Mares Handicap at Caulfield on May 2 but Melham was back in the royal blue colours to take out the Group 3 $115,000 William Hill Proud Miss Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville on May 16.
Lee Freedman said that he had to persuade Godolphin’s Australian Managing Director Henry Plumptre to send Hazard to Queensland too chase more black type events after her Proud Miss Stakes win and the mare was able to win at Group 2 level.
“Henry wanted to retire her after her win in the Proud Miss in Adelaide,” Freedman told AAP.
“I convinced him to let me take her up to Queensland and now she’s a Group Two winner.”
Freedman said that Hazard deserves her chance to be tested at Group 1 level following her excellent recent winning form.
“Whether she’s up to the Group One company I’m not sure,” Freedman said.
“But she’s in great form and deserves her shot at it.”
Hazard will be up against Dane Ripper Stakes placegetters Catkins and Bound For Earth again in the Tattersall’s Club Tiara as well as fourth and fifth placegetters Rose Of Choice and Jazz Song who are among the twenty-four nominations for Saturday’s race.