Jockey Jason Collett doesn’t think he needs to lead at all costs on hardy sprinter Felix Majestic to be a major player in Saturday’s Listed $200,000 TAB Carrington Stakes (1400m) but he’s also wary of riding the horse to his strengths.
That’s the balancing act Collett will have to negotiate on the gelding who has created a deal of excitement at his past two starts under apprentice Molly Bourke.
Collett has won three from seven on the Gary Nickson-trained galloper but has only led in one of those races, when holding off Atmosphere at Rosehill back in November.
Of course, Felix Majestic was involved in a brutal speed battle three weeks ago when Bourke and Tyler Schiller on Cool Jakey disputed the lead to the home turn and opened up an eight-length gap.
Felix Majestic held on to run second while Cool Jakey ran last and the race was the subject of a stewards enquiry.
It isn’t lost on Collett that there’s the potential for a contest for the lead in the Carrington.
“Obviously since Molly has been riding him and letting him slide along at a stronger tempo than previously he seems to have gone to another level,’’ Collett said.
“I don’t think we will be changing anything that’s working at present.
“It’s just a case of what pressure we receive early. Luvoir is another on speed runner who likes to free roll as well, it could create a genuine run race.
“I think who jumps best would hold the lead but I don’t think it’s a case that he has to lead.”
Felix Majestic, $4.80 with TAB on Friday, drops to the limit with 54kg in the Carrington at what will be his fifth attempt at Group or Listed level.
“He’s up against a higher class of horse but 1400m is no issue,’’ Collett said.
“He’s actually quite a laid back character for a horse with his racing style.”
Three rides for a win and two thirds says Collett knows Aristonous quite well and he’s hoping to have more luck on the gelding than Jett Stanley did when beaten three lengths by Louisville at Rosehill two weeks ago.
Collett said an inside barrier in the Agency Real Estate Handicap (2000m) is something he hopes to make some use of and can see the Annabel Neasham-trained galloper bouncing back to his best.
“He had the wide run and that may have been the difference in the finish there,’’ he said.
“Louisville had the soft run and was able to get the split through them. He has a softer gate so he will get a good run and I’d expect him to run pretty well.
“He seems to be clearing the gates better at his last couple of starts so I’d like to think he will do that again and be able to take advantage of that barrier.”
Collett picked up the ride on Wolves in the Midway Handicap (1600m) and regards the mare as a sneaky chance.
Wolves, trained by Benjamin Smith, has only won once in 19 starts but showed she’s not far off a win with a fast finishing second behind Molly Nails at Canterbury on January 5.
“I thought she was a really nice pick up, she was very good last start,” Collett said.
– Racing NSW