Globetrotting jockey Craig Williams will take over the reins on Hvasstan when he kicks off his Autumn campaign in the Group 2 $220,000 Hyland Race Colours Autumn Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Williams replaces premiership leading jockey Glen Boss who opted to ride the Anthony Cummings trained Fiveandahalfstar but trainer Peter Gelagotis has lost nothing with the booking of the experienced rider.
“Craig has ridden him before so there are no concerns there. He’s a top jockey anywhere in the world,” Gelagotis said.
Boss was aboard Hvasstan in his last four starts of the Spring including a win in the Group 3 $150,000 Starlight Children’s Foundation Norman Robinson Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 20 and fourth to Fiveandahalfstar in the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on November 3.
But Williams is no stranger to the Fastnet Rock colt having ridden him twice at Sandown in August for a fourth and a second.
Gelagotis is expecting Hvasstan to take enormous benefit from Saturday’s race and be well prepared for a rematch with the Victoria Derby winner in the Group 1 $750,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington in three weeks time.
“He came to hand quickly and he is ready after a nice gallop this morning,” Gelagotis said yesterday.
“This is a kick-off and I think there will be a lot of improvement when he steps up in distance, as there will be with the others.”
Hvasstan hit the headlines in the Spring winning the Norman Robinson for Gelagotis days after the death of his father giving some consolation to the tight knit family.
“It is really exciting to see our good horse come up. He really gave us some joy in the spring in tough times,” Gelagotis said.
Hvasstan and Fiveandahalfstar will clash again with Super Cool in the Autumn Stakes after the Mark Kavanagh trained three year old ran a mighty race to finish second in the Victoria Derby.
The Autumn Stakes will also see the return to racing of the Bart Cummings Group 3 winner Lunar Rise and promising three year olds Philippi and Haussmann.
Saturday’s Caulfield meeting will also see many two year olds striving to gain a spot in the Group 1 $1m Patinack Farm Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield in two weeks in the Group 3 $150,000 Patinack Farm Blue Diamond Preludes for the colts and geldings and the fillies.
And racegoers will see glamour colt All Too Hard step out for the first time in his new colours, the green and white of Vinery Stud, in the Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) after Nathan Tinkler’s Patinack Farm disposed of the Caulfield Guineas winner in a $25 million package deal with Vinery Stud.