Jay Ford and Christian Reith still have youth on their side but the pair will find themselves among the elder statesmen of the jockeys’ room at Randwick.
Only a handful of regular Sydney senior riders will be in action at Saturday’s meeting with the bulk headed to the Gold Coast for the rich Magic Millions race day.
With eight junior riders booked for mounts at Randwick, Ford, 35, and Reith, 40, will be out to curb the tide of apprentices.
“That makes me feel old,” Ford said.
Reith was quick to point out he would not be the most senior member of Saturday’s jockey ranks.
“Glyn Schofield’s there so he’s older than all of us,” he said.
As experienced hoops who have survived and thrived in the ultra-competitive Sydney arena, both Ford and Reith are happy to offer advice and guidance to the junior jockeys.
Reith acknowledges how difficult it is for apprentices and the steep learning curve they face.
“I think they’ve got to be so polished to ride in the metropolitan area these days,” Reith said.
“It’s a tough gig and when they are riding in town they improve quickly, which they have to, and that’s always good to see.”
Apprentices will be strongly represented in the majority of races at Randwick and will outnumber the senior riders four to three in the Summer Sprint (1000m) with Ford (Frolic), Reith (Badajoz) and Schofield (Marsupial) the only established jockeys with mounts.
Frolic was runner-up in the 2017 Golden Slipper but her three-year-old season was restricted to just five starts because of niggling issues with her knees and throat.
Saturday’s race will be her first since May and Ford is hoping the mare can recapture some of her old form.
“Obviously she is a quality horse and if she’s anywhere back near her two-year-old form you’d probably have to think she’d nearly win,” Ford said.
Reith is also upbeat about the chances of Godolphin’s Badajoz who has been mixing his efforts but did finish runner-up in the Listed Starlight Stakes two starts ago.
“I haven’t had a lot to do with him but I’m obviously looking forward to getting on him,” Reith said.
Apprentice Robbie Dolan has the mount on Summer Sprint favourite Single Bullet ($2.80) with Frolic being kept safe at $5.50 and Badajoz a $19 chance.