The prospect of riding smart Cambridge three-year-old Kali (Darci Brahma) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day has lured Melbourne-based jockey Mick Dee back to New Zealand.
The former successful New Zealand apprentice landed a treble on his last trip back to New Zealand, for the second day of the New Zealand Cup meeting at Riccarton last month, and will be mixing business with pleasure on his Christmas-New Year trip.
Dee owns a Waipukurau farm with his parents, Richard and Jo, and had already planned to return there to celebrate Christmas when the offer to ride Kali in the Gr.1 Sistema Railway (1200m) arose.
“I’ve been home for Christmas for the last few years and rode at Ellerslie on Boxing Day two years ago, but had the week off last year,” Dee said.
“This time I’ll fly over on the 24th (December), have Christmas with my family, then go up to ride at Ellerslie on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.”
Kali was one of the favourites for the Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton last start following an impressive win in the Gr.3 Barneswood Farm Stakes (1400m) at Ashburton, but she was hampered in the early stages of the Guineas and was last on settling before winding up sixth, three lengths from her winning stablemate, Loire.
“She had 10 days off after Christchurch and looks fantastic,” trainer Tony Pike said.
“She has been back in a couple of weeks and there’s a strong chance she will get to the Railway. Three-year-olds have a good record in it.
“She’ll have an exhibition gallop at Ellerslie on the course proper beforehand.”
Kali will get into the Railway with 51.5kg, the reason a lightweight rider of Dee’s calibre was quickly called upon.
-NZ Racing Desk