The Murray Baker-trained duo of Diademe and Sports Illustrated were included in the 2015 Queen Of The Turf Stakes field that was released this morning and the leading trainer revealed this morning that jockey Opie Bosson will have the chance to decide which mare he partners in the Group 1 event at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Baker and Bosson combined to win the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) with Mongolian Khan at Royal Randwick yesterday and Baker told Sky Racing this morning that he is hopeful they will be able to replicate that feat in the 2015 Queen Of The Turf Stakes, but is happy to let the jockey he believes is the best in New Zealand choice his ride.
“They are both coming over,” Baker said.
“They quinelled the Group 1 last week for mares and they are both on the plane tomorrow night.
“Bosson will ride one and I don’t know who will ride the other one yet.
“He has gone home this morning, but he will be coming back and I will leave it up to him which one he picks.
“He has ridden both these horses in both of their starts, so he knows both of them well.
“He is really very talented, but he is quiet tall and he has had some battles of late but to his credit he got back into it and I think anyone would tell you he is the best rider in New Zealand.”
Bosson has partnered Diademe in the majority of her race starts and her steered her to her maiden win at Group level in the 2013 edition of the Group 3 Westbury Classic (1400m) at Ellerslie in 2013, but he missed out on the ride on the Savabeel mare when she took out the Group 1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders (1600m) at Te Aroha on April 4.
The leading hoop took out the Bentleys Accountants Handicap (1400m) and Group 2 Cal Isuzu Stakes (1600m) on Sports Illustrated at the start of her summer preparation before he steered her to a close second at Ellerslie on February, but he was replaced on the Fast ‘N’ Famous mare by Craig Grylls when she finished second behind Diademe in the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders.
Bosson will be having his first ever ride in the Queen Of The Turf Stakes, while Baker will be having his first run in the race since Staring finished seventh behind Excited Angel in the 1993 edition of the race.