King to Rule in 2015 Winter Stakes

Former Group 1 winning expat Perth hoop Paul King is eager to get a Black-Type win on the eastern side of Oz this weekend when partnering race favourite Two Blue in the Winter Stakes 2015 at Rosehill Gardens.

Two Blue

Two Blue is a big chance on a wet Rosehill track in Saturday’s 2015 Winter Stakes. Photo: Steve Hart.

King has been in New South Wales for 18 months, the start of which he was sidelined with a broken kneecap, and despite his impressive record back in Western Australia that included three Group 1 victories, securing a stakes win in Sydney has so far eluded him.

That’s something he is hoping to change on Saturday when he jumps back aboard the in-form Kristen Buchanan-trained mare Two Blue in the $100,000 Listed Sydney Markets Limited Winter Stakes (1400m).

A six-year-old daughter of Dubleo, Two Blue has had seven previous runs over the 1400m for three seconds and a third but as yet no wins.

She is also yet to taste Black-Type success over her 31-start career that has netted a total of seven wins for $307,800 in prize money.

The Wyong-based mare comes into the Winter Stakes off a string of nice runs at the Rosehill track including a second behind the John O’Shea-trained Haussmann when only a neck off the Godolphin galloper in the Listed Civic Stakes (1350m) on a Heavy (8) course from July 4.

King rode Two Blue to victory over 1200m at Rosehill the run before on June 27, but missed the close Civic Stakes showdown having already committed to ride Lovethebeaches in the Queensland Cup at the Sunshine Coast.

He is eager to reunite with Two Blue on Saturday though and hopes to go one better on her to help add even more value to her prospective value as a broodmare.

“It wasn’t hard [to watch] as I was actually cheering her on,” King told The Sydney Morning Herald speaking of the missed Civic Stakes ride.

“And you want to see them run a good race, especially when you’re back on next race.

“There’s nothing worse than watching a horse go around and it runs average and you think, ‘what’s gone wrong there?’

“It would have been nice to see her get a black-type win next to her name, but she’s placed now and it adds a bit more value to her when she does retire.”

A Winter Stakes win would also go a long way in building the triple Group 1 winning jockey’s own profile in Sydney and help him secure more feature race rides.

“Riding a Group 1 winner anywhere in Australia is great,” King, whose first Sydney winner was only in January aboard the Gai Waterhouse-trained juvenile Flamboyant Lass, said.

“They’re all hard to win and none of them are easy – especially in WA, as we don’t have a lot.

“We only have three Group 1s a year [in Perth], but just riding a normal Saturday winner in Sydney is a great thrill. And to get a stakes win would be massive.

“You’ve got to make the most of the opportunities when you get them. It would be nice to ride a stakes winner and it just helps the progression with other trainers.”

Two Blue currently sits top of the Winter Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $4.20 to win from barrier six on 55kg, a much better gate than 11 of 12 that she had in the Civic Stakes with only a kilo less on her back.

Her biggest plus though is an excellent Heavy track record (7-2-3-1) as Rosehill heads towards a Heavy (10) rating for Winter Stakes Day.

“I don’t think there’s an issue with 1400 [metres],” King said.

“She’s won over further at 1500 [metres], she likes a wet track, she’s a kilo off the minimum and she’s drawn a nice gate.

“And being up on the speed it’s going to be a massive advantage compared to most of the other runners.”

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