Lightweight Queensland rider Jason Taylor has been called up to partner promising staying mare Snow Secret in the Group 2 NZ$200,000 Wallaceville Estate Wellington Cup (3200m) at Trentham in New Zealand on Saturday.
Snow Secret has been given the minimum 52kg in the Wellington Cup and Cambridge trainer Shaune Ritchie has called on the experience of Taylor to steer the four year old mare around the two mile course.
“It’s difficult to get an experienced Group One-winning rider at 52 kilos and we’ve got a four-year-old who really hasn’t run against the more-hardened handicappers over two miles, so we needed to get the right type of jockey,” Ritchie told NZ Racing Desk.
“We’ve been friends with Jason for many years and we’d always said if we had a decent one in a good race, we’d get him over to ride if the opportunity arose – and here it is,
“I wouldn’t be bringing him over if the horse was just a go-round.”
Taylor has been among the top Brisbane jockey ranks for the past two decades and claimed Queensland’s feature sprint race, the Group 1 $1m Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm, on Sincero during the 2011 Brisbane Winter Carnival.
But in recent times Taylor has been concentrating on the provincials, mainly at the Gold Coast and the meetings around the Northern Rivers district of New South Wales.
Snow Secret was a winner three starts back over 2100m in a BenchMark 75 Handicap at Ellerslie on November 28 and Ritchie said that the mare should have finished closer than fifth last start in the $75,000 2015/2016 Dunstan Feeds Championship Final (2200m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day.
“We rode her upside down a bit last start, trying to take advantage of barrier one but we’ll be riding her cold this weekend and she’ll be hitting the line stronger than most of them,” Ritchie said.
Ritchie campaigned Snow Secret in Australia during the 2015 Autumn Carnival last year and after finishing fifth over 2000m Handicap at Caulfield ran fifth again to Okahu Bay in the Group 3 $115,000 SA Fillies Classic over 2500m at Morphettville with Glen Boss in the saddle on both occasions.
“Glen told us after that race that she was a natural stayer and she’d get two miles one day,” Ritchie said.
“Jimmy Mac and Pentathlon are two high-class stayers and I’m not going into the race thinking that our mare is better than them but if we get the good run and they don’t, then we might well be in the thick of things.”
Taylor also has two rides for Cambridge trainers Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young at Trentham and will also ride at the Karaka Million meeting at Ellerslie on Sunday.