Kitten A Champion Group 1 Opportunity For Hungry Hippo

Jockey Adam Hyeronimus isn’t used to being thrown the keys to a firm favourite in a Group 1 so is looking to convert a prime opportunity to add to his tally of majors on Tom Kitten in Saturday’s $2 million Moet & Chandon Spring Champion Stakes (2000m).

Jockey Adam Hyeronimus (Pic: Bradley Photos).

Godolphin has entrusted the in-form Hyeronimus with rides on four horses at Royal Randwick headlined by their colt who has been luckless all the way along to the Spring Champion.

The 33-year-old notched his second career Group 1 on Tropical Squall in the Flight Stakes almost a month ago and sees the call up to ride a Group 1 favourite as a result of a work ethic, following his return from over two years on the sidelines, that sees him sitting sixth on the jockeys premiership with 14 wins.

“It’s pleasing that what I’ve done this season is paying rewards,’’ he said.

“They are across everything at Godolphin, they do all the data and I guess I was at the top of their list and it’s come off the back of how I’ve started this season.”

Hyeronimus knows a little about beating Tom Kitten, $2.25 with TAB on Wednesday, having partnered Ganbare to victory in the Dulcify Stakes with the Godolphin colt in third.

He rode the same horse in the Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) two weeks ago and would have seen a blue streak flashing past him out wide to just miss.

In that race Tom Kitten clocked easily the fastest last 600m of 34.14 (Punter’s Intelligence) and his last 200m of 11.50 was over a length quicker than anything else so Hyeronimus is confident he’ll run out a strong 2000m especially from barrier one.

“He’s obviously a good horse, he’s found himself in a few awkward positions in the last couple of runs,’’ he said.

“He was very good first-up over the seven furlongs. He’s had to shoulder his way out and do things to get him into positions to hit the line.

“You can see once he comes out and gets clear galloping room how he can finish off.”

It’s fair to say high priced UK mare Alcohol Free has yet to live up to her reputation overseas but Hyeronimus is expecting a distance rise in the $2 million The Invitation (1400m) to be in her favour.

The mare ran a promising first-up fourth in the Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m) behind Think About It but failed after pressuring the lead in the TAB Everest.

Prior to those runs, Hyeronimus was the pilot in her barrier trials and is adamant she’s capable of improvement coming back to mares company despite drawing near the outside.

“She’s quite a funny little horse, she has a few quirks but I think she seems to be going well enough,’’ he said.

“She needs everything to unfold for her and not get knocked around too much in the run.

“Seven furlongs is going to make a good difference in where she ends up and the tempo of the race. She’s come out of two high pressure races and she’ll appreciate a more sedate tempo.

“I’m not too bothered about the gate, I think you’ll see a different horse over seven furlongs.”

The Little Pumper is a horse Hyeronimus knows well and he’s expecting a solid showing in the Group 2 $1 million Cincotta Chemist Callander-Presnell (1600m).

He feels the Tulloch Lodge gelding’s seventh in the Tapp-Craig off almost a two month break was a run he had to have, evidenced by him still being in front at the 150m before weakening late.

“He probably just needed the run and he’ll be better for it,’’ he said.

“He’s been targeted for this race and no doubt they will have him ready to go. It’s a big prizemoney race and they wouldn’t be going there if they weren’t confident.”

Racing NSW

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