Melbourne jockey Nick Hall will replace Damien Oliver on Azkadellia in the Group 1 $500,000 Sky Racing Tattersall’s Club Tiara (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 25.
Oliver has ridden the Ciaron Maher trained Azkadellia in four of her last seven starts, including a Group 1 win in the $1m The Coolmore Legacy Stakes (Queen Of The Turf Stakes) (1600m) at Randwick on the first day of ‘The Championships’ on April 9.
The three times Melbourne Cup winning jockey was also aboard the Azkadellia when she was sent out as favourite for the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm last Saturday, but after getting stuck on the fence in the worst part of the track, finished tenth, ten and three quarter lengths from the winner Under The Louvre.
The Tattersall’s Club Tiara will be Hall’s second attempt to partner the four year old mare but after being booked to ride her in the Group 1 $750,000 James Boag’s Premium Doomben 10000 (1350m) at Doomben on May 28, was suspended for careless riding and replaced by Mark Zahra who rode her into second place behind Music Magnate.
“They’ve been asking to ride her for a while and obviously I got a suspension when I was booked to ride her (in the Doomben 10,000),” Hall told AAP.
“I’m excited to get a turn aboard.”
Even though Azkadellia was well beaten in the Stradbroke Handicap, Hall is still giving her a great chance to atone for her defeat.
“I still think she’s probably the second best mare in the land at the moment, behind Winx,” Hall said.
“She’s got a lightning turn of foot. So the key will be to hold her up and use that at the right time.”
Maher agrees with Hall that Azkadellia is better than her Stradbroke Handicap performance and expects her to bounce back to her best against the fillies and mares in Tattersall’s Club Tiara.
“The track was clearly a lot better outside. The horses in contention were the widest runners,” Maher told Melbourne radio RSN on Wednesday morning.
Maher said that the Shinko King mare had pulled up well after her Eagle Farm failure but he will test her out on the track early next week before making a final decision if she runs in the Tattersall’s Club Tiara.
“She’s pulled up really well. We’ll put a saddle on her tomorrow,’ Maher said.
“I’m sure she’ll bounce back. Providing she gallops well next week we will head to the Tiara.”
Oliver had a day he would rather forget on Saturday and as well as getting beaten on the favourite in the Stradbroke Handicap, he was also suspended for careless riding and pleaded guilty to causing interference to Amicus when shifting ground on Onemorezeta at the 1100m mark in Group 2 $200,000 Bundaberg Rum Dane Ripper Stakes (1400m).
Racing Queensland stewards suspended Oliver for eleven days and he will be free to ride on Tattersall’s Club Tiara Day at Eagle Farm on June 25.