Natasha Faithfull says winning Geraldton’s senior riding title would be a significant personal milestone and reward for perseverance.
The diminutive rider is on the cusp of being crowned Geraldton’s leading rider but has one final battle to overcome in Friday’s season-ending meeting.
Faithfull and top apprentice, Jordan Turner, are locked in an enthralling contest with both combatants staging a spirited duel.
Turner shot to the front early in the season but Faithfull has fought back and holds the upper hand with a nine point lead.
“I have won leading apprentice at Albany and Bunbury but to take out by first senior award would be really good,” said Faithfull.
“It wasn’t something I had set my sights on after Jordan had shot away to a handy lead earlier in the season.
“But it would be great to win and show that all your hard work had paid off.”
Faithfull gives all four of her mounts excellent each way chances but predicts Mossman Flyer to play a prominent role in the Sky Racing TV Provincial Championship Series Heat (1400m).
The bay gelding, drawn wide in gate 11, was a winner at Geraldton two starts back but was no match in Perth when unplaced to Long Over Due at Ascot.
“You think he is going to be hard to beat coming back from Saturday class and he is the best of my rides,” said Faithfull.
“The wide draw is no concern as he will go back and his work during the week was very good.”
Faithfull makes a strident case for Mestari in the Great Western insurance Brokers Handicap (1200m), despite the gelding’s modest record of one win from 22 starts.
The six-year-old, who has trialled twice, races first up after flashing home to run third behind Black Aria at Northam last October.
“He has had a lot of setbacks but if he can race like he works he will be hard to beat,” said Faithfull.
Faithfull said Turfspecial, who tackles race one, gave her a good feel at track work and Amorosa in race two will be suited by the 1400m.
Three of the four major awards are up for grabs with just two points separating Tony Scally and Murray Sharp in the Leading Trainer category.
Sharp’s Big Clint can clinch Horse of the Year in the Mitchell & Brown Handicap (1100m) while Turner has an unassailable lead in the Apprentice race.
Five premiership points are allocated for a win, three points for second and one point for third.
RWWA: Julio Santarelli