Dean Yendall has been booked to ride Wandjina in the 2014 Cox Plate and the veteran hoop will be making his debut in the Group 1 event at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Yendall as many winners as almost any jockey in Australia over the past decade, but he is still chasing a maiden win at Group 1 level and he has had little success at the highest level of racing; missing the placings in his previous 25 starts at Group 1 level in Victoria.
Yendall’s ability to ride at an extremely light weight with limited notice led to him scoring the ride on Wandjina in the Cox Plate and the popular jockey is thrilled to have been given a maiden opportunity in the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship.
Wandjina has had mixed form during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, but he did enough to earn a place in the Cox Plate field by finishing third in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) and Yendall told Racing Ahead this morning that he was impressed with the effort of the Snitzel colt in the Group 1 event at Caulfield on October 11.
“Obviously it was an outstanding run there last time in the Caulfield Guineas,” Yendall said.
“He was back off a hot speed and flew home to finish a nice third.”
Wandjina has shown a degree of tactical versatility during his racing career to date, but he has produced his best performances when he has been settled at the tail of the field and given the opportunity to finish strongly.
The three-year-old had drawn ideally in barrier five and Yendall said that he plans to follow Nick Hall on Fawkner into the race and hope that the promising colt can finish over the top of his rivals in the final stages of the 2014 Cox Plate.
“Obviously it is going to be a hot speed,” Yendall said.
“The Cleaner is going to have his work cut out from him from that barrier and I think that Adelaide and Side Glance will maybe press and put the pressure on it early and make it a fair dinkum and genuine 2000 metre race.
“I would love to be on the back of Fawkner and he is drawn directly inside me in barrier four and hopefully Nick can steer my way through for me.”
Wandjina is currently available at 2014 Cox Plate odds of $34 and is the least fancied of the three-year-olds in the betting market with Ladbrokes Australia.