In form jockey Michael Walker has scored the plum ride on last start Memsie Stakes winner Sincero when he lines up in the Group 1 $400,000 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Walker, who has already ridden twenty-three winners this season, replaces Michael Rodd after he elected to stay with the Mark Kavanagh trained December Draw at Caulfield this weekend.
Rodd was very impressed with the way Sincero blew away the field in the Group 2 $220,000 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 1 and was looking forward to continuing his association with the five year old.
But Rodd’s alliance with the Kavanagh stable sees him stick with December Draw this week, but if the two gallopers take different paths later in the Spring, the Melbourne Cup winning jockey could see himself back on the Group 1 winner.
“He was just floating for a while, but when I gave him one around the tail he really lengthened out,” Rodd said after his Memsie win.
“He is such a lovely mover. I just can’t talk highly enough about the horse. He gave me a great feel and looks like being in for a good campaign.”
Trainer Stephen Farley is giving Sincero a real chance in the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 27 while December Draw could be a Caulfield Cup contender or a Cox Plate starter, depending his progress during the Spring.
“He’s a very underrated horse, don’t worry about that. When he’s right, he’s dynamite,” said a delighted Farley after the Caulfield win.
“I could not be happier with the way the horse has been going. You can’t get too confident in these races so it was good to see him do it.”
Walker is looking forward to a bold performance from Sincero in the Underwood to stake a claim for more Spring rides on the Stradbroke Handicap winner.
The former leading New Zealand rider is finally getting rewarded for his hard work and persistence and is leading the Victorian jockey’s table, six wins ahead of Glen Boss who rode a winning treble at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Trainer Anthony Freedman and part owner Luke Murrell are looking forward to Doomben Cup winner Mawingo returning to form in the Underwood after a disappointing first-up eleventh in the Group 2 $300,000 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 8.
The import failed to beat a runner home for Daniel Moor and after an initial examination failed to reveal any reason for the poor run, subsequent blood tests revealed signs of a virus and Murrell is confident that Mawingo will be back to his best on Saturday.
“He was just really flat at Flemington so we took a blood count from him and there were signs of a virus there,” Murrell said.
“He wasn’t himself for a couple of days after the race. He’s a really dominant horse and tries to make sure everyone is looking at him but there was none of that while he wasn’t felling the best.”
“Anthony looked after him and a couple of days later, he was his normal self again.”
“His blood count in back to the perfect levels so we are expecting a big improvement from him in the Underwood Stakes.”
Sincero has maintained his position near the top of the markets for the Cox Plate at $13 with December Draw at $21 while Mawingo has slipped down to $51 after his lacklustre performance at Flemington.
The Gai Waterhouse trained Pierro and More Joyous head the Cox Plate betting with Pierro at $4.60 ahead of Sydney’s glamour mare at $6.50.