Corey Brown had a choice to make this week, does he stay in his Sydney base to challenge for the Sydney Premiership or does he travel to all corners of the nation to try and capture the national Group 1 title?
On the surface Group 1 glory may seem the obvious choice, but keep in mind the man he’s trying to catch, Luke Nolen, has the ride of Black Caviar and therefore is almost certain to extend his lead at the top of the standings.
The task may seem overwhelming but Brown will be racking up the frequent flyer miles over the next few weeks in a bid to knock Nolen off the top of the list and reclaim the title he once had.
“I haven’t given up on the Sydney premiership, I’m not that far behind Nash Rawiller (71 wins to 63.5 wins), but my immediate focus is to try to win as many Group 1 races as possible.”
Brown has won five majors this season, two behind the mark set by Nolen who has benefitted greatly from his association with the super mare and her four Group 1 triumphs.
Brown meanwhile has managed to win each of his feature races on a different horse.
He can’t be too annoyed by that though, in the 2007/2008 season Brown was crowned the top Group 1 jockey in the country after winning seven top flight races, five of which were on the champion Apache Cat.
Nevertheless his national campaign will start tomorrow when he heads north to the Gold Coast where he has a book of seven rides, the most important being Shoot Out in the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes.
From there he’s straight back to Adelaide for a full card of eight mounts which includes his first two Group 1 chances, Weighted in the SA Derby and Valentine Miss in The Goodwood.
“I’ve got good chances all day at the Gold Coast and I’ve also picked up some nice rides in the Group 1 races in Adelaide on Sunday,” he said.
While not a Group 1 the Hollindale Stakes is vital to Brown’s title aspirations with the performance of Shoot Out likely to determine if catching Nolen is a possibility.
“Shoot Out is my Brisbane ‘banner’ horse for the carnival up there so I wasn’t going to miss the ride on him at the Gold Coast,” Brown said.
He’s run twice this year and failed to make an impact finishing well out of the money in both his Sydney starts.
“I was a little disappointed with his run behind Black Caviar first-up in the T.J. Smith Stakes but his effort was much better when he ran fifth to Hay List in the All Aged Stakes,” Brown said.
“If you take Hay List out of that race, he would have been right in there fighting out the finish.
“He felt like a racehorse again last time out and now he’s on his home track and back up to 1800m, he’s going to be very hard to beat.”
While he will have a little bit of time to develop his relationship with Shoot Out, his crash and bash mission to Adelaide will be something of a new experience.
“I’ve never ridden for [owner] Lloyd Williams before … I actually rang Lloyd myself last week and asked if I could ride for Weighted in the Derby.
“He rang back the next day and said I could ride him.
“He’s always been a successful owner and has a great eye for a horse, particularly stayers. I’m just happy to get my foot in the door.”
His other Group 1 ride for the day is on Valentine Miss, one of six rides booked for Mark Kavanagh.
“My manager Brett Grant was keen for me to ride this mare,” he said.
“She’s got good form … and you know when you ride for the Kavanagh stable in a big race, you’re in with a real chance.”