In what will be his first day back riding following a suspension, top Perth jockey Shaun O’Donnell has picked up the key ride of Chester Road in the Group 2 2012 CB Cox Stakes (2100m) at Ascot on Saturday.
Connections of Chester Road, the early favourite for the Perth Cup which will take place on New Year’s Day, were forced to find a new jockey after Peter Hall was suspended for careless riding aboard Mabel Grace during her win in the Jungle Dawn Classic.
O’Donnell is the regular rider of Perth star Luckygray and said he was excited after receiving an offer to ride Chester Road from owner Andy Phelan.
“I received a text from Andy asking me if I’d like to ride his horse,” O’Donnell said.
“I sent back that I’d love to ride him.”
The Adam Durrant-trained Chester Road is one of the most promising stayers in the west, having won eight times and placed another six from 20 outings.
He finished to Railway Stakes winner and stablemate Mr Moet in the Group 3 Strickland Stakes in July and broke through at stakes level for the first time last month when winning the Listed Carbine Club of WA Stakes (1400m) by 2 1/2 lengths.
A strong 15-horse field will contest the CB Cox Stakes that is headed by Mr Moet who will be out to continue his impressive 2012 Perth Summer Racing Carnival form.
The consistent gelding, who has won 11 of 25 career starts, won the $1 million Group 1 Railway Stakes first-up before running a strong second to Luckygray in the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic.
Others contesting the CB Cox Stakes include Group 1 winner Playing God and veteran gelding Lords Ransom who completed the CB Cox Stakes-Perth Cup double at the 2009-10 Perth Summer Racing Carnival.