After months out of the saddle due to a shoulder injury, jockey Jay Ford is on the comeback trail and has a strong chance of scoring a second stakes win in just eight days with the Joe Pride-trained Title in Sydney’s Civic Stakes.
Honours List four-year-old Title claimed a massive upset at Gosford last Friday when they defeated a crack field, including flop favourite Squamosa, in the Listed Takeover Target Stakes (1200m) by a minimum margin of two and a half lengths.
“I just love it when my horses surprise me and he genuinely surprised me at Gosford,” Warwick Farm-based Pride said of Title’s last-start victory.
“I thought he would be competitive, I wouldn’t have had him in that race if I didn’t, but to win and win with authority was great.”
Ford was aboard for the winning ride, which was his fourth consecutive ride on the gelding and a big effort after having to overcome the extreme outside barrier in the race.
Now on Saturday the duo will get another shot at stakes success with Title and Ford lining up in the $100,000 Listed Civic Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens.
Drawn in barrier six of the now 12-horse final field following the early scratching of Drenalin, the Queensland galloper set to contest the $175,000 Listed Glasshouse Handicap (1400m) at the Sunshine Coast instead, Title is the clear $3.70 favourite to win the Civic Stakes.
It has been a big first half of the year for Ford, who after spending nearly five months out of action having undergone shoulder surgery late last year, only returned to the track in April.
“Obviously the Listed race last week (the Takeover Target Stakes) was terrific for all involved and I guess it helps me re-establish myself in the riding ranks and getting a bit of a roll on,” Ford said.
Before his time on the sidelines, Ford rode Title to back-to-back wins at Rosehill during the spring of last year and is enjoying being back on the promising sprinter and back in the winner’s stall.
“At the end of the day you need the cattle,” Ford said.
“It’s been nice to get back on Title and win a couple of races.”
The bookies aren’t the only ones that believe Title will be hard to beat on Saturday, Ford also firmly on his mount’s bandwagon.
“He’s drawn well in barrier six, I think he gets in pretty well at the weights with 56 and a half kilos and Joe (Pride is very happy with the horse this week,” Ford said.
At 56.5kg, Title is being asked to carry 2.5kg more than he did for the Takeover Target victory, but the weight should be no issue as Title has previously carried as much as 59.5kg when they were beaten a mere neck in a 1300m race at Rosehill last December.
Despite having had just a week between runs, Ford and Pride also don’t see this as an issue with Title having proven his ability to back up in previous preparations.
“We know he backs up well, he’s won over 1400 metres and loves a wet track, so I think there’s a lot of positives for him heading into this race,” Ford said.
“I’d like to think he’s a strong chance again.”
Having had three runs on heavy ground, Title has shown his ability as a wet-track performer with those runs producing a duo of wins and a second place.
He’s also well-tested on Slow ground, which the course proper at Rosehill was rated on Thursday, with two wins from four attempts.
“I’m looking forward to Saturday,” Joe Pride said.