Last year’s Jumbo Jet Trophy winner Preditor (NZ) (Savabeel) will make a bold attempt to go back-to-back first-up from a break this Sunday.
He will, however, be partnered in the S$175,000 race over 1400m by a jockey who does not boast the most flattering record on him – four rides for four unplaced finishes – Matthew Kellady.
With the five-time winner (1400m to 1800m) weighted at 54.5kgs, his winningest partner (three wins), heavyweight jockey John Powell had to sit out the ride.
Trainer Shane Baertschiger is fully aware of Kellady’s poor stats with the Savabeel six-year-old, and couldn’t resist giving his stable No 2 jockey a bit of a ribbing.
“Matty has the worst record on Preditor – not even a placing in four rides!” said Baertschiger.
“Matty better buck up this Sunday! But seriously, he’s the one who gallops the horse as he’s the only one who can hold him – Preditor’s always keen in his trackwork.”
The Australian handler of course appreciates Kellady, a loyal worker who has stuck solid to the yard since his father Don’s training days and ridden countless winners for the family.
The Malaysian rider has this year supplied Baertschiger with six of his 33 winners this season – and a seventh one on a horse he has yet to break his duck in a feature race to boot, could be in the offing on Sunday.
“For some reason, our luck have not come together. I like to joke he’s the Predator and I’m the Alien!” said Kellady.
“Early days when I rode him, he was running against better horses, like Jupiter Gold, and then Cliff Brown’s horses like Elite Excalibur and of course Debt Collector.
“But Shane always puts me on in his gallops because he’s a hard-going type of horse. During his races, he is a lot more relaxed.
“He galloped on his own on the Polytrack this morning and I was happy with his condition. Obviously, I got the ride because JP can’t make the weight, and I think he’s got a good chance on Sunday.
“Hopefully, I can win my first race on him.”
Preditor is ready for his return, even if it was not really by design to pick the feature race he annexed last year as the race for his comeback.
“He was supposed to run first-up in a Class 1 race over 1400m on June 21, but it was scrapped,” said Baertschiger.
“I gave him two more weeks off and brought him back. He’s been working well, but didn’t get to trial as the one he was supposed to run in was cancelled last Thursday.
“Anyway, he’s jumped off the backstraight the other day, that’ll do. He’s fit and well and has been a solid stalwart to the stable.
“He’s had a good freshen-up, he goes well fresh and has got a good first-up record.” -STC