Warren Kennedy makes Group 1 call

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Leading jockey Warren Kennedy had a tough decision to make heading into Saturday's BCD Group Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa, with the option of riding either or Crocetti, with the expat South African ultimately choosing the latter.

Waitak showed a blistering turn of foot to take out the Group 1 (1200m) under Kennedy at on New Year's Day, however, Kennedy said loyalty told in the end with his selection.

Kennedy has become close with Crocetti's breeder-owner since his arrival in , and he wanted to stay loyal to his friend this weekend.

“It's probably more mainly just to Daniel,” Kennedy told Weigh In. “He (Crocetti) is a good horse, he has done nothing wrong. I think he can step up to the (WFA) level. He has been very good to me, and Daniel has been very good to me, and I may as well keep it going.”

The - trained Crocetti remains undefeated in his seven starts to date, including victories in the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m), Group 2 James and Annie Sarten Memorial (1400m), Group 3 (1200m), and Group 3 Trophy (1200m).

While he has chosen to ride Crocetti, Kennedy believes Waitak may be the better winning chance in the race, particularly given his last start heroics in the Railway.

“The better chance I would probably lean towards Waitak – he has been there and done it over this distance as well. That is probably his niche, over 1400m, that's where he wants to be,” Kennedy said.

While leaning towards, Waitak, Kennedy said Crocetti has continued to develop and may be better suited to the 1400m as a result.

“Crocetti has changed, he is developing still as a horse – he has got longer instead of getting taller, which has extended his stride which is very interesting because he has got a phenomenal stride on him already,” Kennedy said.

“I would say his niche was 1200m, but that could have changed now. Because the way he has lengthened, the 1400m could be his best trip now.”

Kennedy said Wednesday's barrier draw will be a key factor in Saturday's outcome.

“The draw is going to be pivotal,” he said. “We know Waitak will probably get a bit back and if Crocetti draws well, he will get forward. He will have that advantage, but we know Waitak will be flashing home.

“It is going to be a very interesting race, I am really looking forward to it, and hopefully I am on the right one.”

Crocetti is a +150 favourite in the Futures Market with leading horse racing bookmakers for the BCD Group Sprint, ahead of Waitak at +400, with Bonny Lass and at +700.

Saturday will also dictate the autumn plans for Crocetti, with a potential Australian campaign in the offing.

“It is going to be a test for him going against the older horses. It is going to be an acid test and I think from there they will decide whether they are going to Australia with him or not,” he said.

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