Hardworking jockey Koby Jennings claimed his biggest prize less than a fortnight ago and on Saturday he’ll be chasing more city success for his good mate – Newcastle trainer Nathan Doyle.
Jennings shot to prominence in the Sydney riding ranks at Rosehill on October 31 when guiding Godolphin mare Colette to victory in the nation’s third richest race – the $7.5 million Golden Eagle.
While Jennings enjoyed the spoils of his victory, built on plenty of hard work and knock-backs, he didn’t take long to put the win behind him, looking for his next winner.
“It was a funny feeling thinking about all the work that had gone into achieving something like it in the couple of days that followed,” Jennings said.
“But I came back to earth pretty quick when I was back in the bath on Melbourne Cup day sweating my bum off for the next race meeting.”
On Saturday, Jennings nominated the Nathan Doyle-trained Strawb as the best of his three rides when the mare resumes in the Bass Floor F&M Benchmark 78 Handicap (1400m).
The daughter of Fastnet Rock is the winner of four of her seven starts, three of five since joining Doyle’s team.
Strawb has been to the trials twice in preparation for her return, both 1000m hit outs where she couldn’t have been any more impressive finishing runner-up on both occasions.
“The trial behind Farnan was very pretty impressive and she looked the part the other day again,” Jennings said.
“The trial at Gosford behind Farnan, Bossy (Glen Boss) pressed the button about 500 (metres) out (on Farnan), I just let him go and we ran out own trial and she was very good.
“Then she followed it up at the same track, wide throughout and cruised up the running.
“Nathan and I have always had a massive opinion of her and she’s going good.”
Early bird punters wasted no time snapping up the overs when TAB.com.au opened the four-year-old as an $8.50 chance for Saturday’s first-up assignment. The subsequent fluctuations in early trade were $4.80, $4.60, $4.20, $4 and the current price of $3.70, which ousted Enchanted Heart ($3.70 to $4) as favourite.
“Good gate on Saturday, the track should be dry,” Jennings said. “I’d expect her to prove hard to beat. She’s got her share of talent. The good ones give you a special feel, I get that feel from her.”
Jennings will also team up with Strawb’s stablemate Cafe Royal, which is also resuming, in the Guardian Safety Solutions 3&4YO Benchmark 72 Handicap (1200m).
Cafe Royal also has the benefit of two 1000m trials at Gosford under the belt.
“She’s pretty hard to get a guide on her in the trials but after her last one, I got the feeling she’s on her way back to where she was a couple of preps ago,” Jennings said.
“She just switches off so much that she almost drops herself out of it.
“She’s got plenty of quirks but she too is better than her last two times she went to town on the wet tracks. Got a bit of an awkward gate on Saturday. I get the feeling she’ll run well but I’m more confident about the other mare.”
Rounding out Saturday’s engagements for Jennings is the John Sargent-trained Get The Idea in the Senpos Point Of Sale Benchmark 88 Handicap (1850m).
The So You Think four-year-old should appreciate a drop in class after chasing home Icebath and She’s Ideal in his past two starts.
“I’ve seen him around but I’ll have a proper look in the next day or so,” Jennings said.
“He’s back in grade on Saturday and that should suit him. He’s won four of nine and you have to have some ability to have a record like that.”