Under normal circumstances, Alysha Collett would be riding at Kranji in Singapore on Sunday.
Instead, she will be at Queanbeyan having her first ride in Australia since competing in the Group 1 ATC Metropolitan Handicap in 2018.
Collett, the sister of Tatt’s Tiara winning jockey Jason, is one of a handful of jockeys who chose to come to Australia when Singapore racing shutdown due to the COVID-19 crisis.
‘’I have been up in Singapore all-up for about two years but the COVID-19 situation has made it a bit sticky for us, so I thought I would come back and make the best of the opportunities here,’’ Collett said.
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“I flew in from Singapore three weeks ago and did two weeks in isolation. It was very boring, I would recommend it for nobody, but it’s saving people so it’s a good thing to do.
“I couldn’t really do much because you’re stuck inside the whole time so I was reading, doing lot of exercising and watching TV series. I watched a lot of racing from all around the world, so you get to catch up on things.’’
Collett is no stranger to Sydney racing, she won a scholarship that entitled her to spent two weeks working for Chris Waller for whom she rode a winner for at Rosehill in 2013 as an eighteen-year-old apprentice.
Nothing the COVID-19 crisis can throw at Collett can compare to what she has overcome to be riding anywhere.
A horror race fall in Singapore in 2018 left her with a broken back requiring surgery on her spine which put her on the sidelines for the best part of a year.
Since them, it’s been onward and upwards for the 25-year-old who has embraced all the Singapore has to offer — even the heat.
“It’s 30 degrees all the time,’’ she laughed.
BEST BETS WITH SHAYNE O’CASS: QUEANBEYAN
BEST BET: PROUD MIA (Race 1, No. 10)
Half sister to the speedy Spaceboy. This Nick Olive trained 2yo showed plenty of that herself when she won her Canberra 900m trial albeit a while ago now.
NEXT BEST: FIGHT THE KNEAD (Race 6, No. 8)
Hasn’t done much wrong at all in her seven starts placing at the last two those. Will run the mile right out that’s for sure.
VALUE BET: UPPER HOUSE (Race 5, No. 2)
Highway winner who is in great form again winning two of his last three starts and ran 4th in the Albury Mile in between.
JOCKEY TO FOLLOW: ALYSHA COLLETT
Back in Sydney via New Zealand and then Singapore and can celebrate her ‘home-coming’ with two decent chances: FIGHT THE KNEAD (Race 6, No. 8) AND ARADHAHA (Race 2, No. 4).
BEST EXOTIC: QUADDIE
Race 4: 1,4,10,11
Race 5: 1,2
Race 6: 8.10
Race 7: 1,3,9
BEST BETS WITH ADAM SHERRY: PARKES
BEST BET: TESTING TIMES (Race 4, No. 8)
Back from a spell and ready to pick up where she left off. Showed good improvement at each start in first campaign culminating in her maiden win at Bathurst in December under Greg Ryan who rides her here.
NEXT BEST: GINGER’S VOICE (Race 8, No. 9)
Came from a wide draw and led all-the-way to score a commanding win by nearly five lengths at Dubbo last start. With her light weight, she can go back-to-back.
VALUE BET: GENERALISSIMO (Race 7, No. 4)
Injury has prevented him from reaching the heights he should have. A listed winner in her early days, he has been carrying big weights in midweek city grade. A light weight, good draw and extra distance can see him return to form.
BEST EXOTIC: QUADDIE
Race 5: 6, 13, 14
Race 6: 2, 5, 10, 11
Race 7: 2, 3, 4, 9
Race 8: 1, 8, 9
JOCKEY TO FOLLOW: GREG RYAN
Always gets a strong book rides and for good reason. He is teaming up with Bjorn Baker on for of the trainers runners who are all leading contenders.
‘’It’s an amazing lifestyle up there. You are only racing a couple of times a week so it is very laid-back. It is completely different to here but it is nice to be here to get the challenge of riding every day.’’
It’s no coincidence that Collett’s two rides at her first visit to Queanbeyan — Aradhana and Fight The Knead — are both for Clare Cunningham who is the partner of her brother Jason.
‘’I am looking forward to riding them. I know them both now. I have had a little bit of a ride on them. I’ve been lucky that Clare has given my the opportunity to ride them out there.
“I know it is a little bit of a hike but I’ll take that,’’ she said.
Collett, like her brother, is a Group 1 winning jockey thanks to her partnership with iron-mare Consensus who won the Zabeel Classic at Ellerslie on Australia day in 2016.
And like Collett, Consensus has a famous racing pedigree – her fourth dam is none other than Surround who is the only three filly to have a Cox Plate.
INSIDE MAIL WITH SHAYNE O’CASS: QUEANBEYAN
Looks potentially a race in two between the first starts Proud Mia and Delacour both from the nation’s capital. Proud Mia is trained by Nick Olive and is a half sister to the exceptionally fast Spaceboy and she seems to have inherited a lot of her sibling’s speed running 53 flat in her trial. Delacour likewise won her trial by a big space. She was a bit slow out but mustered big time to win. Very racey type and a dead-ringer for her sire Magic Albert. Skaifee is best of the others.
Bet: Proud Mia win, exacta 10 to beat 6
Alsyha Collett is back in NSW via New Zealand and Singapore given the COVID-19 crisis. This is her first time to Queanbeyan and she could very well come away with two winners from her two rides both for Clare Cunningham. Collett rides Aradhana here, a filly who has placed at three of her four starts and who has been runner-up in her two Queanbeyan visits. One Last Fight is a superbly bred Snitzel/Kylikwong filly having her first run for new trainer Joe Cleary. Hey Dugee has trialled well – twice.
Bet: Aradhana win, box trifecta 1,4,7,8
Acton Shale has always shown some talent but there can be no doubt that Nick Olive trained gelding has really hit his straps of late. The son of Hinchinbrook was runner-up at Canberra on April 24 which set the scene for his powerful 1200m win at Wagga last Sunday. Plum Pudding is a cleverly named daughter of mare called Christmas who chased a handy type home at Moruya last time. Hard Core has raced here at home seven times for two wins and four placings.
Bet: Acton Shale win, Plum Pudding place, exacta 6 to beat 8
Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott would surely like to think they can get this one with The First Ring. He’s not the best horse to ever walk out of Tulloch Lodge but this is a wafer thin race even by maiden standards. Call Me Artie is yet to place in four runs but his last start fourth was good enough to see him medal in this affair. Patrick Scorse ride Physcoa is a chance but he’s got a wide draw to contend with. Ruler Of All is a player.
Bet: The First Ring win, box trifecta 1,4,10,11
Norm Gardner has his one-time TAB Highway winner Upper House is grand order right now. The son of Zariz has won two of his past three starts and was a close up fourth at the other in the Albury Mile. He won his last start with 62kgs on a heavy track and he’s no Rough Habit! So You Think son Bart (named after Bart Cummings) races best here at home with two wins and a third from four goes at the track. Boys Day Out has won nine races and placed 14 times.
Bet: Upper House win
Fight The Knead is Alysha’s Collett second ride on the card for Clare Cunningham and will take beating. The mare seems to be building to another win now after a couple of eye-catching placings at Canberra then Muswellbrook on May 1 when she was beaten a whisker. Greg Hickman trained Kareno has only win once in 14 starts but she has placed six times and was second at her only previous trip to Queanbeyan. Congenial Mistress and Future Dreams should run well.
Bet: Fight The Knead win, exacta 8 to beat 10
Natalie Jarvis has found the key to former Godolphin galloper Kattegat. The Black Caviar relation has won both times under her management in the most emphatic style. Gets harder to keep winning of course going up in class and weight – not to mention a horrible draw today – but he’s flying. Judge’s Daughter has raced well every time Gary Nickson has brought her here. Shady Diamond likewise has some affinity with the circuit.
Bet: Kattegat win, box trifecta 1,3,7,9
INSIDE MAIL WITH ADAM SHERRY: PARKES
One Pound settled well back and was checked on the corner in finishing third to the smart Shamusu Sho at Narromine April 27. Ridden up on the speed from wide draw and blitzed her rivals by five lengths at Dubbo May 3. Hard to beat again. Twilight Sun lost all momentum when held as he was looking to make his run at Canberra last start. Should have finished much closer that fifth. Clever Missile and Carnegie’s Monaco are capable.
BET: ONE POUND TO WIN.
Fancythatmo was little slow out and settled back midfield when fifth at Sapphire Coast in October before a spell. Jumped well and led when resuming at Goulburn May 8 to finish second behind Nuremburg Castle. Drops in weight and that can make the difference. Mas Dinero debuts for new stable after racing in Queensland. Form up north is handy should be kept safe. Ay Bee Are has trialled nice ahead of his return here.
BET: FANCYTHATMO TO WIN.
Lateral Missile was trapped wide and over raced a touch but boxed on gamely to hold down third at Goulburn last Friday. Nicely drawn and will give a bold sight. Stablemate Akela’s Charm tried hard behind the promising Any Wish at Kembla last Thursday. The form was fracked with Any Wish winning again at Taree on Tuesday. Polished Penny is knocking on the door for a win after placings at her past three starts. Jetline was a good second first-up and rates well.
BET: LATERAL MISSILE EACH-WAY.
Testing Times finished her last campaign on a high note and can kick off this preparation the same way. She won her first trial back at Warwick Farm April 17 before a third to handy stablemate Shock Alert at their home track April 27. Perfectly drawn to take up a forward spot and looks tough to beat. Powerscourt is racing consistently around Wagga and Canberra. Will be right in the finish.
BET: TESTING TIMES TO WIN.
After scoring at her second start at Kemble, Zem Factor then stepped up to midweek company. She was far from disgraced when fourth to Aquataine at Kensington before a sixth to All Cylinders at Canterbury in January. That’s strong form for a race like this. Now with Mack Griffith and she has trialled well recently. Supergaze was a handy fourth on debut at Orange before winning at Narromine last start. Costas and Irresistible Girl are not with a chance.
BET: ZEM EM TO WIN.
Good Time Charlie got the job dome albeit narrowly from Shehroz when resuming at Narromine April 27. Only had the one trial going into to run and should be further improved. Gold Touch is resuming from a break but rated highly on her last start win from Sausedge at Canberra Feb 21. Stablemate Festival Of Light and Rogue Runner have been racing in good form and ran the quinella at Dubbo last start. Will be right in the thick of things again.
BET: GOOD TIME CHARLIE TO WIN.
It’s been three years since Generalissimo last won but he has spent of that time on the sidelines. Found the distance of his recent starts too short but has been working to the line reasonably well under big weights. Step up to the mile suits and will appreciate a big drop in weight. Assault’n’bathory scored a crushing all-the-way win at Canberra last start and is the one to beat. Steamin’ was good at Canterbury last start when fourth to Come Along. Has been set for this.
BET: GENERALISSIMO EACH-WAY.
Ginger’s Voice came from back in the field when third at Orange April 17 before leading all-the-way to score a big win from Jetline at Dubbo two weeks ago. A repeat of that effort will see her hard to beat again. Patrick May wasn’t an easy ride when by laying in resuming at Wellington. Better effort last start when third to Rawson Crossing at Narromine April 27. Nieces And Nephews is better than his last start failure at Wagga May 1.
BET: GINGER’S VOICE TO WIN.