Apprentice rides five city winners in two days
Apprentice Jason Maskiell drew level with Luke Nolen at the top of the Melbourne jockeys’ premiership when he landed his fifth metropolitan winner in two days at Flemington.
After riding his first city treble at Moonee Valley on Friday night, Maskiell had his allowance reduced from three kilograms to two for Saturday’s Flemington meeting.
But it didn’t stop the 19-year-old who is riding on the crest of a wave.
The son of top Tasmanian jockey Stephen Maskiell was beaten on odds-on shot Marconi who was runner-up to talented first starter We’re Gonna Rock in the Fiesta Star Hcp (1000m).
But Maskiell led all the way on Marconi’s stablemate Luminous Harmony ($2.60 fav) to take out the following event, the Shaftesbury Avenue Hcp (1400m), which trainer Mick Price, Maskiell’s master, dominated with Testa My Patience finishing second.
Maskiell made it a running double with a well-judged ride aboard the Robert Smerdon-trained Saddler’s Story ($4.40 fav) in the Comic Court Hcp (2500m).
That took him to 22 winners in Melbourne so far this season, the same as Nolen.
Maskiell, who arrived in Victoria six months ago with 110 winners under his belt in Tasmania – classed as country wins – has ridden a total of 24 city winners in Melbourne and four winners in the country in that time.
"It’s a bit different going from Launceston to Moonee Valley but it’s going really good, I’m getting on some really good horses," he said.
"Confidence is a massive bonus but I think trainers have entrusted me with good rides and you have to believe in what they say and hopefully it can pay off.
"It’s nice to be the equal leader in the jockeys’ premiership, it’s huge, everything is working out really nice."
Smerdon said he would stick with Maskiell when Saddler’s Story runs in the Listed Bagot Hcp (2800m) at Flemington on January 1 even though it is a non-claiming event.
"He’s so full of confidence. I don’t know whether it’s all ability but he’s full of confidence at the moment and it’s showing in his rides," the Caulfield trainer said.
A six-year-old by Xaar, Saddler’s Story settled back with cover and worked his way into the race before scoring by two lengths from The Zeebac ($6.50) with Prince Vitality ($71) a nose away third.
Also heading to the Bagot is the Mick Kent-trained Grand Destiny who was guided to a narrow second-up victory by Glen Boss in the Bitalli Hcp (2000m).
"We might give him a shot at the Bagot while he’s got some fresh legs," Kent said.
The Redoute’s Choice six-year-old, who recovered from a broken pelvis last year, looked flat halfway down the straight but Kent said because of that injury he takes a while to pick up.
"He surged over the last 100 metres," Boss said.
"The Bagot will be a harder class but he deserves his chance at that sort of race."
By Mark Ryan