Oakleigh Plate winning jockey Damian Browne is returning home to New Zealand on Saturday to team up with his old boss Peter Williams at Hastings.
Browne is coming off a rare Group 1 winning weekend when he partnered Woorim to win the $400,000 Sportingbet Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield to give Brisbane trainer Robert Heathcote his first Group 1 victory.
Williams has snapped up Browne to ride Planet Rock in the Group 3 $70,000 Lowland Stakes (2100m) for three year old fillies replacing Hayden Tinsley who has ridden the filly at her last four starts including a win in the Group 2 $100,000 Cambridge Stud Eight Carat Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie on December 26 three starts back.
The Fasnet Rock filly also had Tinsley aboard when she took the Group 1 $300,000 New Zealand Bloodstock 39th 1000 Guineas at Riccaton on November 12.
Williams trains in partnership with his wife Dawn and the pair have only recently transferred from Christchurch to train their team in Auckland.
Browne who is now based in Brisbane, hasn’t ridden in New Zealand for ten years and hoping the trip back will be successful.
“I haven’t had a ride in New Zealand for 10 years,” Browne said.
“I’m just hoping it will go the same way as it did when I had my first ride for 15 years in Melbourne when I won aboard Buffering and Woorim last year.”
“Buffering won the McEwen Stakes while Woorim was successful on the same day in an open handicap at Moonee Valley on September 10.
“I don’t know much about Planet Rock other than she can sew up the New Zealand Filly of the Year if she wins the Lowland,” Browne said.
“If she can win Filly of the Year there’s a chance she could be going to Coolmore.”
Williams will consider a trip over the Tasman for the top class filly if she wins the Lowland on Saturday and set his sights on the Group 1 $600,000 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill on March 24.