Racing: Aussie happy to see the rain

By Mike Dillon

Cambridge trainer Shaune Ritchie's Snow Secret has form on rain-affected tracks. Picture / Race Images
Cambridge trainer Shaune Ritchie's Snow Secret has form on rain-affected tracks. Picture / Race Images

Jason Taylor left Brisbane yesterday in 30-plus degrees and arrived, for the first time, in Auckland in driving rain.

The 43-year-old lightweight Queensland jockey didn't mind -- he was hoping some of the moisture was also falling in Wellington.

Taylor is in New Zealand to ride Snow Secret in Saturday's $200,000 Wallaceville Estate Wellington Cup for Cambridge trainer Shaune Ritchie.

"I notice she has form on rain-affected tracks, so it would be great if we got some Wellington rain this week," said Taylor shielding under a borrowed umbrella as the rain tumbled.

Ritchie called Taylor last week in search of a natural lightweight rider who could manage Snow Secret's 52kg without having to diet hard.

"There are very few top rate riders anywhere who can ride 52kg comfortably and I've known Jason for quite a while and I knew he could."

Taylor has ridden for Shaune Ritchie before and handled Bachelor Zeel for father Frank Ritchie in the Prime Minister's Cup and Ipswich Cup at last year's Queensland winter carnival.

Taylor is no stranger to big race victory. He has Queensland's big two sitting in his lounge, the 2001 Brisbane Cup won in Star Covet and the 2011 Stradbroke, which Sincero won under him.

Shaune Ritchie is not kidding himself how difficult the task is this weekend.

"Look, Pentathon and Jimmy Mac are very good stayers, but so is my mare and with her light weight she can be in it with the right run."

Snow Secret was ridden forward in the Dunstan final last start to take advantage of an inside barrier, but her best form has been when ridden quietly, which will be Taylor's instructions this time.

"She will be ridden very quietly and if she gets the right run she should be running into it late."

?Queensland trainer Liam Birchley has had to change his plans with his runner in Sunday's $1 million Karaka Million at Ellerslie.

Birchley had planned to gallop his Million runner O'Reilly Cryrus tomorrow morning at the Ellerslie gallops session arranged by the Auckland Racing Club, but cannot get to New Zealand tomorrow before midday.

O'Reilly Cyrus will gallop at Ellerslie on Thursday morning instead.

Galloping tomorrow will be the Trent Busuttin/Natalie Young team members Caorunn, who will run in the Million, and Wellington Stakes winner Tavago, down to run in the $100,000 NZ Bloodstock Karaka 3yo on Sunday.

O'Reilly Cyrus has had just the one race start for an easy win at Doomben on December 4.

- NZ Herald

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