Manawatu jockey Rosie Myers will step into uncharted territory when she teams up with Aalaalune in Saturday’s Group 1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at Hastings. A natural lightweight, Myers usually walks at 51kg but she is facing a rare task of shedding weight to get to Aalaalune’s 48.5kg for the weight-for-age feature. “I don’t think I’ve ever had to ride that light,” Myers said. “It’s only a couple of kilos I’ve had to lose and it should be sweet. The boys (male jockeys) keep telling me that’s what they have to do for every meeting.”
Myers, who has five Group 1 wins to her name, was only too happy to accept Team Rogerson’s offer to ride the Reliable Man filly, who raced exclusively in stakes company last season, finishing second in the Group 1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie and a fast-finishing fourth in the Group 1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni. “She’s got pretty good form from her two-year-old season but it’s just hard to measure her up in this race,” Myers said. “She hasn’t raced against those proven older horses and the likes of Endless Drama and Melody Belle have been there and done that but she’s getting a lot of weight from them.”
Aalaalune carries 10.5kg less than $2.70 favourite Endless Drama, a last-start winner of the Group 2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) at Te Rapa and 8.5kg less than six-time Group 1 winner Melody Belle, who won the Tarzino Trophy last year. “She’s drawn out (barrier 14) but she gets back anyway though, I want to talk to Rogey (co- trainer Graeme Rogerson) before I make any plans on tactics,” Myers said.
An $18 shot with TAB bookmakers, Aalaalune is having her first start for Rogerson and his co-trainers Debbie and Bailey Rogerson, having transferred from Matamata trainer Jacob McKay earlier this month. Still a maiden, Aalaalune will be the first three-year-old to contest the first leg of the Hawke’s Bay triple crown series since the John Wheeler-trained The Pooka finished fifth in 2007. The Pooka also contested the other two legs of the triple crown before going on to Group One success in the New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton.
Rogerson, then training in partnership with Stephen Autridge, produced Cedar Manor to finish seventh in the race in 2004. Not that any of that matters to Myers, whose focus will be on getting to the 48.5kg on Saturday and enjoying a hearty meal afterwards. “I’m not eating much at the moment. I’m pretty hungry right now,” Myers said.