Tough as teak jockey Kathy O’Hara has picked up the ride on Listen Son in the Group 2 $175,000 Villiers Stakes (1550m) on the Kensington track at Randwick on Saturday.
The popular jockey is making a return to race riding after suffering concussion and a head gash following a nasty fall from Natch Catch on the Kensington track on November 29 when she lost her footing in her near-side stirrup on the home turn before My Man Of War, which was following, crashed into her.
Racing New South Wales Dr Ron Muratore has cleared O’Hara to resume riding and has provided the following report: “I saw Kathy O’Hara Monday December 9 and performed a full post concussion assessment of her, following on her race fall on November 29.
“All investigations performed in hospital were normal. Kathy has been riding her horse (over jumps) for a few days, without any symptoms and she is fit enough to resume riding as of now. ”
Picking up the ride on Listen Son means that O’Hara will have rides in two of the feature races on Saturday with trainer Bjorn Baker not hesitating the book her for Zaratone in the Listed $100,000 Razor Sharp Handicap (1150m).
Whereas O’Hara will be having her first ride on Listen Son, she is pleased to be reunited with Zaratone after missing out on the winning ride in the Listed $100,000 Blackwoods Alemlube Starlight Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on November 30 when he was ridden by Brenton Avdulla.
O’Hara had been the regular rider for Zaratone, riding the eight year old at his previous six starts including a win at Rosehill in July.
Brisbane trainer Tony Gollan is not concerned that the Villiers Stakes will be run on the Kensington Track after the Australian Turf Club’s decision to transfer the Randwick feature from the course proper because renovation work on the racing surface was behind schedule because of the recent wet weather.
“They are forecasting storms up here unfortunately and maybe showers in the Sydney,” Gollan said from Brisbane.
“But the (Kensington) track down there is such a good drying track, so that’s maybe the way we’ll lead.
“He looks the pace in the race and that sort of track will probably suit him.”
Gollan has had to scratch Listen Son on a couple of occasions because of wet tracks in Brisbane but insists the seven year old will be fit enough even though he won’t have had a run since finishing second over 1300m at Eagle Farm six weeks ago.
“I’ve had to scratch him a few times because of wet tracks but he’s been having jump-outs every two weeks,” Gollan told AAP
“He’s been in work quite a while and he’s no stranger to having his runs spaced.
“I think the horse is going super, he’s been in good form and it’s worth having a crack.”
O’Hara has also been booked for three of her regular rides from the Jason Coyle stable, Smart Moochi in the 1400m Benchmark 80 Handicap, Spring Rose in the 1150m Benchmark 80 Handicap and Takewing in the 1400m Benchmark 75 Handicap.