Opie Bosson will chase a fifth win in Saturday’s Group 1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m), a race he has only ridden in sporadically in recent years.
The Waikato jockey has won the Trentham three-year-old fillies Classic on She’s Country (in 2000), Bramble Rose (2003), Princess Coup (2007) and Keep The Peace (2010) but has only ridden in the race once since he placed on Charmont in 2015, chiefly through commitments in Sydney.
Bosson will partner the Jamie Richards-trained Amarelinha in Saturday’s race, the Savabeel filly dominating the TAB’s final field market at -166.67 after wins in the Group 2 Ellis Fillies Classic (2100m) at Te Rapa and Group 3 Sunline Vase (2100m) at Ellerslie at her last two starts.
“She’s in with a big chance,” Bosson said.
“She’s got a bit of a tricky draw (barrier 12) but we’ll assess things after she jumps and see where she wants to be. I don’t really want to be rushing her too much. She showed at Te Rapa she could take up a position but I just want to get her relaxed and into a rhythm.
“She wasn’t 100 percent in the ground after the rain came at Ellerslie last time and didn’t let down like she usually does. But the better ground will suit her on Saturday and I think she’ll run out a strong 2400m. She looks a good winning chance.”
Amarelinha gives Bosson a chance to level up to Chris Johnson as the only five-time Oaks-winning jockeys since it was transferred from Riccarton in 1973, though Johnson could add to his record when he teams up with Spine Tingle.
There was only a nose between Amarelinha and Oaks rival Needle And Thread in the Sunline Vase but Bosson noted that he had to make a long, sustained run on his filly in conditions she didn’t really like.
“Her class will take her a long way,” he said.
Bosson will also take rides on Brando in the Group 2 Fusion Electrical Wellington Guineas (1400m), Johnny Jones in the Listed Hardy Trade Supply Company Lightning Handicap (1200m) and Oso Savvy in the Harrisons Carpet Premier (1600m).
He rode Brando’s race rival and stablemate Need I Say More to win the Listed Mufhasa Stakes (1300m) at Ellerslie last start but left the decision on which horse he rode at Trentham to Richards.
He rode both in trackwork on Thursday morning and said there was nothing between them.
“I really can’t split them. The team wanted me to ride Brando. He’s really turned the corner over the last couple of weeks and he’s looking good but Need I Say More is flying too. He’s going to be hard to beat.”
Bosson was impressed with what he had seen of Johnny Jones’ leadup form in the South Island and was looking forward to riding the North Canterbury sprinter before shooting for consecutive wins aboard the Stephen Marsh-trained Oso Savvy.
“He won nicely last start but he’s got a bit of a job ahead of him with the wide draw.”