Hong Kong-based hoop Brett Prebble has been booked to ride Gai Waterhouse-trained Wandjina in the 2015 Australian Guineas at Flemington on Saturday.
Damien Oliver was originally booked to ride Wandjina in the Australian Guineas after he steered the colt to victory in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on February 21, but the leading hoop will miss the race after his appeal against a careless riding suspension for his ride on Rommel in the Group 3 Zeditave Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday was dismissed.
Prebble will be returning to Australia for the first time since he finished fifth on Nostradamus in the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 13 last year and he will be riding in Melbourne for the first time since the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival.
The veteran jockey has not recorded a Group 1 win in Australian since he took out the 2012 edition of the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) with Green Moon, but he won the Group 1 Krisflyer International Sprint (1200m) in Singapore and Group 1 The Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) in Hong Kong last year.
Prebble will be riding in the Australian Guineas, but is still chasing his first win in the Group 1 event after finishing third on Playing God in 2011, sixth on Prime Century in 2003, seventh behind Pentastic in 2002 and ninth on Scenic Royale in 1996.
Wandjina is rated a genuine chance in the Australian Guineas and is currently on the fourth line of betting for the Group 1 event.
Trainer Gai Waterhouse has always had a big opinion of Wandjina and he was not disgraced in races like the Listed Lonhro Plate (1100m) and Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) as a two-year-old, but did not do enough to earn a start in the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m).
Wandjina made a slow start to his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign, but he lived up to his potential with a fast-finishing third behind Shooting To Win and Rich Enuff in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
That performance was enough to convince Waterhouse that he was worthy of a start in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) and the Snitzel colt was controversially included in the field by the Moonee Valley Racing Club and he did plenty of work early before tiring to finish tenth.
Wandjina returned to racing in the CS Hayes Stakes and looked like a sitting duck at the 300 metre mark after doing plenty of work early, but he held off Group 1 placegetter Disposition to record a brave victory and stamp himself as an Australian Guineas contender.