Adrian Bott and co-trainer Gai Waterhouse have turned to top Sydney jockey, Rachel King, to partner Zoumon in dual Group 2 races in Perth.
King will ride five-year-old gelding Zoumon in Saturday’s Ted Van Heemst Stakes (2100m) and the Perth Cup (2400m) on New Years Day.
The booking of UK-born King is a great coup for Perth racing, who are still on a high after the emotional retirement of star jockey Damian Oliver last Saturday.
Considered one of Sydney’s top riders, King created history when she became the first female hoop to win two of the top races on the Australian racing calendar.
Booting home Ozzmosis, King claimed her fifth Group 1 success in the Coolmore Stud Stakes, a stallion-making race at Flemington last November.
A year before she delivered a brave front-running exhibition on Knight’s Order, leading from barrier to post and winning the Sydney Cup by two lengths.
King arrives in Perth not long after showcasing her riding skills overseas where she finished third in the International Jockey’s Championship in Hong Kong.
With her first-ever ride in Hong Kong she steered home Oversubscribed and followed it up with a third on Toronado Phantom.
Bott says the booking of King for Zoumon in the Ted Van Heemst Stakes is a positive one.
“She’ll ride this weekend and then the Perth Cup,” Bott said to the Races WA.
“She’s doing a great job and has plenty of confidence at the moment.
“I’m sure she’d love to say she’s ridden one over there in Perth.
“She’s had a bit of luck on him (Zoumon), winning the Grafton Cup (2350m) last preparation.
“And she rode him in the Five Diamonds (2nd).”
The Five Diamonds at Rosehill on November 11 marked Zoumon’s final run before he travelled to Perth for Ascot’s Pinnacles carnival.
He ran ninth in the Group 1 Northerly Stakes (1800m), beaten four lengths, but Bott was pleased with the effort in Perth’s weight-for-age feature.
“I thought he ran well,” Bott said.
“He had a bit of a tricky draw and a tough run in transit.
“I thought the last furlong of the race was good and he stuck on very well.
“He’s in great order and I think will appreciate the drop back in grade.
“But most importantly the step up in trip.
“It’s what he’s looking for at this stage of his preparation, that little extra in trip.”
Zoumon, a son of Zoustar, has won eight races and $1.4 million in prizemoney.
In June and July, he hit a purple-patch of form with a winning Listed hat trick.
He took out the McKell Cup (2000m) and followed up in the Caloundra Cup (2400m) and Grafton Cup (2350m).