Levin apprentice Sam O’Malley has a strong chance to finally break through for his first win at Woodville on Thursday and put himself in line for the possibility of a rare double.
The 19-year-old will ride the in-form High Quality for his employer, trainer Geoff Haigh, in the Merrylees Hotel 2100 then be switching codes to cheer on his promising trotter Bar Room Brawl at Alexandra Park on Friday evening.
O’Malley has had a frustrating run trying to get that elusive first riding success. He has had 63 rides and had to settle for 12 placings, including a couple of seconds.
However, he has experienced instant success as a part-owner of Bar Room Brawl, who won on debut at Alexandra Park on February 16 then scored again at the same venue last month before a last-start second.
Bar Room Brawl was broken in to the saddle and had been a travelling companion for some of the Haigh stable’s gallopers before heading to Clevedon as a six-year-old.
Now it’s the turn of one of those gallopers, High Quality, to reward O’Malley for all his hard work.
High Quality has won three times from 15 starts and O’Malley has been aboard the Handsome Ransom six-year-old on seven occasions for a second, a third and a couple of fourths.
“I think he can give Sam his first win on Thursday,” Haigh said. “I’d love to see it happen. Sam deserves it.
“He’s even had a couple of rides over fences to try and get that winner. And Sylvia (Kay) gave him the ride on Dolcetto at Awapuni last time. The horse just needed it, but still went a top race for second.”
Haigh is also pleased with the progress being made by Constant Barrage, a son of Raise The Flag and brother of Gr.3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) winner Broadside.
Constant Barrage won on debut at Awapuni last November and reappeared at last week’s Foxton trials when ridden by O’Malley.
“Unfortunately he was in a hot trial, up against Group One winners like Authentic Paddy and Start Wondering, but I’m happy with how he went,” Haigh said. “He won’t strike it that rich when he races. He’s coming up well.
Haigh originally trained Broadside, who was sold to the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott stable after looking smart with wins in the last two of his three New Zealand starts.
Broadside has gone on to win a further five races, including two black-type events, and been three times stakes-placed.
“As well as Constant Barrage, we’ve got an Alamosa half-brother, a colt by Pentire and we’ve got the dam, Anam Cara, in foal to Turn Me Loose,” Haigh said. “There’s a bit of upside if Constant Barrage can do well.” – NZ Racing Desk