Senior New Zealand rider Leith Innes made the most of a gilt-edged opportunity at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday when he guided the Chris Waller trained Egg Tart to a convincing victory in the Gr.2 PJ O’Shea Stakes (2200m).
Innes, who is on a self-described working holiday, has ridden on a number of occasions for Waller of late and jumped at the chance to ride the multiple Group One winner on the weekend.
“I’ve known Chris for a while now and got the chance to ride a few for him here in Brisbane this winter through a good mate of mine, Guy Mulcaster, who works closely with Chris,” he said.
“Chris has got a good team for the carnival and this mare is a very classy individual. The punters thought she was a good thing for Saturday’s race and, although you never want to get ahead of yourself, I did think she was going to be very hard to beat.
“The race panned out perfectly and she travelled kindly throughout. My main worry was not getting to the front too early but in the end she just ran away from them.”
Although tempted to base himself in Queensland for the winter, Innes will fly back to Auckland on Sunday to prepare for the ride on the Brendan and Jo Lindsay owned two-year-old Reevederci at Avondale on Monday.
“I thought about basing myself in Brisbane for the winter, but I do have commitments to ride for Brendan, so it is just as easy to hop on a plane to fly backwards and forwards,” he said.
“I have picked up a couple of rides at Doomben this weekend so I will ride at Avondale and then head back across later in the week.
“It can be pretty tough in New Zealand for the next few months with the heavy tracks and the like so having the chance to spend some time in Queensland with the better weather and warmer temperatures makes for a good break and one I’m going to enjoy.”
One of the extra perks that Innes is enjoying during his time in Queensland is the opportunity to work on his golf game.
“With the weather being so good I’ve managed to fit in a couple of games of golf,” he said.
“There are any number of great courses to play and the other day I managed to beat James McDonald on the 17th so that could be one of my best wins while I’m over here.” - NZ Racing Desk