Getting a leading rider on often makes all the difference in a race in town and Canberra trainer Keith Dryden is hoping a multiple Melbourne Cup winner can deliver him glory.
Dryden has booked Kerrin McEvoy to ride Express Courier in a Benchmark 72 Handicap (1900m) and he’ll leave it up to the top hoop to give the five-year-old the perfect ride.
He will have to do it out of gate seven with the top weight.
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“He’s going good but has plenty of weight with 59.5kg and I’m not 100 per cent sure yet that Canterbury will suit him,” Dryden said.
“I’m just going to let Kerrin ride him how he feels he’s going.
“He generally gets back a bit further than he did the other day so I’ll just make him aware of that but all these top jockeys watch the films anyway.
“It makes such a difference having those leading riders on. They really know what they’re doing.”
Off a fourth placing behind Nyami over 1800m last start and with two wins in his past five runs he’s really enjoying his racing ahead of his first run at Canterbury.
“He worked well the other morning so I’m happy with him and it wouldn’t be beyond him winning if everything fell into place for us,” Dryden said.
Shores Of Avalon ends the night for Dryden in the last race over 1100m and she’s only coming out of country racing this time in with a win and third placing but she’s going to be suited to tonight’s track.
She’s going to be on speed from barrier two under Jay Ford and will be starting over the odds.
She’s put together a good record to date with four wins from 10 runs with two placings so she deserves a crack in town.
“She’s got a good record but hasn’t been tried over any further than the 1000m so it will be interesting to see how she goes,” Dryden said.
“I think she’ll like Canterbury and she’s got good pace so she’ll be right there somewhere for a long way.
“She’s a strong each-way chance if she’s good odds. If it was to rain she might not be much of a chance though because she doesn’t like the wet.”
To kick off Dryden’s evening, first starter In De Sun Iwilcome races in the third event and McEvoy has also been booked to ride her.
She’s an I Am Invincible mare who cost a cool $380,000 and she’s out of Island Pago who is the half-sister to Pago Rock.
“She cost a bit and she’s going along all right,” Dryden said.
“She’ll need education more than anything and she’s going along quite nicely and has drawn well.”
Dryden has been cautious about her winning chances leading up to the race despite two winning trials.
He said she’s going to be a lot better once she figures out what the game is all about.
“She’s not doing anything wrong except she wants to over race a bit. She’s starting to come to it,” he said.
“She’ll be on the pace.”
SCONE PREVIEW: SINGLETON SHOOTS FOR WINS AT HOME AND IN TOWN
Local trainer Scott Singleton is backing his Dream Ahead filly Baiyka to not only be a better horse at Scone but genuine winning hope.
The three-year-old races in the fifth event after running a close second at Muswellbrook last start over 900m and the extra 100m is ideal.
She’s only had four starts to date but has ran second on two occasions and this is her time to win from barrier three with regular rider Billy Cray on.
“I think she’s peaking now,” Singleton said.
“She was a little underdone first-up then she jumped out of the ground last start so she gets her chance from a good barrier at home.
“The form out of that last race is pretty good. The winner won again and the horse that ran third has won so is looks like a good race for her.”
Singleton will also debut Stocklist in the second race and despite getting a good gate (four) for her first run, the Tavistock mare is going to need much more than 1300m
“She needs 2000m and further,” Singleton said.
Stablemate Remlaps Gem won’t run in the sixth race at Scone but will be sent to Sydney for Saturday’s Class 3 Plate, a Highway race.
He’s won two of his four starts to date and ran second last time at Muswellbrook but he’s going to start as the second most inexperienced horse in the race.
“He’s come on a lot from that first-up run. He’s a big horse so he needed that run and it’s really cleaned him up,” Singleton said.
“He’s only had four starts so he is probably getting there a few runs early but there’s not that many races for him and he’s carrying 60kg out here.
“It’s come to a point where you need to take him away because he’s been a bit looked after. He’s only had runs at Scone and Muswellbrook so he hasn’t been more than half an hour in a float.
“I’m hoping like hell he can run 1200m because he’ll be a good horse if he can.”