Vinnie Colgan is relishing his opportunity to get back aboard one of his group one favourites - Volkstok'n'barrell - at Te Rapa today.
The six-time New Zealand Derby-winning jockey hasn't ridden Volkstok'n'barrell in New Zealand since his back-to-back group one double of the Haunui Farm WFA Classic (1600m) at Otaki and New Zealand Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie last autumn.
"I'm happy to be back on the old fella," Colgan said. "He's won some good races and it's worked out well with Matt Cameron happy to stick with Jon Snow for this race."
Volkstok'n'barrell was the TAB's $5.50 third favourite for the Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) on Thursday, behind three-year-old Savile Row at $3.70 and group one Zabeel Classic winner Consensus at $4.50.
"The two three-year-olds [Savile Row and Jon Snow] will be tough to beat and Consensus is racing well but my horse is a good, fit horse and he'll run a strong race," Colgan said.
"With Saint Emilion, Authentic Paddy and Jon Snow in there, there should be a strong pace in the race and my bloke drawing three is ideal, especially over 2000m at Te Rapa.
"We'll jump and hold our ground for half a furlong to hold a position but that's a lot better than having to race three wide and try and get in."
Colgan has ridden the five-year-old gelding on four occasions and that inside knowledge of the horse could prove the difference between winning and defeat today.
"Everything has to go right for him. He can be a bit flat-footed going for home so you have to be ready for that," Colgan said.
"He can get off the bridle from the 600m to the 400m when they quicken but as long as you don't miss that, he'll get to the line strongly. If everything goes right to that point, he'll be dangerous up the straight."
Colgan could shoot for a group one double later in the card when he rides Natuzzi in the NRM Sprint (1400m).
He has ridden the eight-year-old in his past two starts - a win in the Concorde Handicap (1200m) at Ellerslie and fourth in the Railway Stakes (1200m) at the same track.
"His Concorde win was pretty good but he felt like he needed the Railway run. The step up to 1400m will really suit him. With the pace to suit, he's got a deadly finish. He's drawn two but I won't be pushing him too much early." Natuzzi was on the seventh line of betting with TAB bookmakers on Thursday at $11 in a market headed Kawi at $3.90 and Railway winner Start Wondering at $5.
- NZ Racing Desk