Jockey Blake Spriggs expects to get valuable insight into Stradbroke Handicap contender Hightail when he rides the in-form gelding for the first time in an important gallop ahead of the Group One race.
Sydney-based Spriggs travelled to Queensland with the plan to ride Grand Piano in Saturday’s Stradbroke (1400m).
But those plans were shelved last week with Grand Piano instead heading for a spell once it appeared he would be hard-pressed to make the field.
Spriggs was able to secure the ride on recent Gold Coast Guineas winner Hightail for trainers Peter and Paul Snowden.
Spriggs completed two weeks quarantine on Sunday in Queensland, part of the protocols surrounding the coronavirus situation, and he rode trackwork at Eagle Farm on Monday.
He will be back at the track on Tuesday for trackwork and jump-outs.
“It’s a major benefit to be able to sit on a horse before a Group One, Spriggs said.
“I suppose it’s like getting in a car before racing it around a track.
“Sometimes you might not learn a heap but you might learn that one little thing that can be the difference between winning and losing.”
Hightail has won five of his 14 starts, including the Gosford and Gold Coast Guineas’, and was at $15 on Monday.
In-form three-year-old colt Dawn Passage, who secured his Stradbroke place with victory in the Fred Best Classic on Saturday, is the $4.50 favourite ahead of defending champion Trekking ($5) while Victorem is $8.
Fellow NSW-based jockey James Innes Jr is booked to ride Dawn Passage.
Spriggs has been impressed by what he has seen from Hightail and believes he’s had the right preparation and is in the right camp to be a great chance to give him his second career Group One win having won the 2016 Metropolitan on Sir John Hawkwood.
“I think outside the top three he’s probably the next pick,” Spriggs said.
“He’s certainly a quality horse. He won the Gosford Guineas in very impressive fashion.
“He picked them up and won quite well and he did the same again at the Gold Coast.”
Spriggs said he was looking at staying in Queensland for two to three weeks rather than head straight back to Sydney after the Stradbroke meeting.
Hightail has 50kg and after a workout on Monday Spriggs said he was 50.5kg.
“I’m well and truly on track,” he said.
“It’s quite common for a lot of jockeys to pull off 1kg on race day but I’m hoping not to have to do anything at all and if I keep going at the rate I’m going I should be able to have dinner on Friday night and have breakfast before the race.”