Experienced trainer Graeme Hammarquist has resisted the temptation to book a senior rider on Freez’emoff in Sunday’s Tabtouch Geraldton Gold Cup (2100m).
Hammarquist has elected to stick with mature-aged apprentice Jade McNaught after she rode the four-year-old to victory at Geraldton (2038m) a week ago.
McNaught, whose riding career has taken off since commencing her apprenticeship a year ago, said she was delighted to ride in her first feature race.
“It’s unbelievable that Graeme has put me on,” McNaught told The Races WA.
“I’ve been riding the horse for her last couple of starts and he said I’ve done a good enough job and was happy to keep me on.
“There were a couple of senior jockey’s available for the ride so I really appreciate him keeping me on.”
McNaught is adamant Freez’emoff can give the Geraldton Cup a big shake, particularly if she can reproduced her win from April 4.
The daughter of Frost Giant settled fourth off a strong tempo and sprinted clear in the straight to bolt in by a dominant two lengths.
McNaught, who is closing in on 50 wins for the season, is confident Freez’emoff will be making her presence felt in the Geraldton Cup.
“She feels like she can definitely stay,” McNaught said.
“If she relaxes like the other day she will show the same turn of foot.
“There might not be as much speed on, but they will still be going on at a decent clip.
“I’m confident if she relaxes enough she will be right in it.”
Freez’emoff has drawn barrier two in the field of 11 runners and carries 57kg.
A winner in five of 14 races, she will be out to uphold Geraldton bragging rights with Perth gallopers dominating the race in the past decade.
Calico Blue, trained by Rhona Macphilomey and ridden by Mark Forder, was the previous local horse to win the Geraldton Cup (2010).