New Zealand may have kept one of its superstar jockeys, but it is losing the other.
Just a few days after the king of the Karaka Million, Opie Bosson, announced he will stay in New Zealand as the retained rider for Te Akau, his closest rival Jason Waddell has announced he is moving to Australia.
Waddell has always been a mercurial talent but was having a career-best season before the lockdown halted New Zealand racing, sitting second in the stakes money premiership.
His rides have earned over $1.8 million this season, second only to Bosson but without the enormous horsepower of Te Akau that Bosson has behind him. Waddell has also ridden 11 black type winners, again second only to Bosson with 12.
So dominant and decisive was he on some of New Zealand's biggest days, like in the Railway at Ellerslie and Legends Day at Te Rapa, Waddell would be a near unanimous choice as New Zealand's second best big-race rider, with plenty who would rate him even the equal of Bosson on his best days.
He now gets the chance to prove that in Australia, where Bosson had indicated he may base himself after a successful Sydney autumn carnival. However, after further consideration Bosson decided to remain based in New Zealand, but will still ride often in Australia as Te Akau increase their presence there.
Kiwi jumper flying across the Tasman
Not many New Zealand horse trainers can claim any level of success in the last six weeks but Andrew Campbell hasn't even had to leave home to keep racking up the wins.
While thoroughbred racing here is not scheduled to resume until July 3, although possibly earlier, Campbell is benefitting from the huge winning performances in Australia of his former NZ Cup winner Gobstopper.
Campbell used to train the gelding and still retains a share in him, and he won his second major hurdle race in a month in the A$100,000 Australian Hurdle at Sandown on Sunday.
Gobstopper was a one-time NZ Derby contender who went on to win the 2017 New Zealand Cup at Riccarton after a daring Sam Spratt ride.
He won his only start here as a jumper before transferring to Victoria where he is now trained by the legendary Eric Musgrove.
His win yesterday continued the remarkable story of his dam Bagalollies who not only left the Australasian Oaks winner Toffee Tongue earlier this month but Hong Kong superstar Werther and a NZ Oaks placegetter in Milseain.