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Unhappy with the ride Noel Callow gave his galloper Akavoroun in the Sale Cup last start, Caulfield’s Ciaron Maher has booked Melbourne Cup winning jockey Michelle Payne to take over for this weekend’s Sandown Stakes 2015.
A winner of six of his 18 starts to date, Maher’s Lacryma Cristi six-year-old Akavoroun has been unplaced in his past three starts since his first-up second behind Disposition in black-type company over 1400m at Flemington back on September 12.
After an 11th to Lucky Hussler in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) on October 10, the gelding raced in the Listed Sale Cup (1600m) over the same distance a fortnight later.
In the race Callow, the fifth jockey in as many starts to jump aboard, went to the front and the horse was run down late eventually crossing one and a half lengths away seventh behind Evangelist.
Maher was quick to vocalise his thoughts on Callow’s ride and switch jockeys yet again with Payne back in Akavoroun’s saddle for the first time since his eighth to Observational in the Listed Golden Mile (1600m) at Bendigo back in March.
“Terrible ride, just had no chance [at Sale]. So rule a line through that,” Maher told Racing Ahead on RSN.
This weekend Akavoroun gets a chance to atone running on Zipping Classic Day at Sandown Hillside in the $150,000 Group 3 Sandown Stakes (1500m) that attracted 14 final acceptors.
Maher’s representative is drawn well in barrier four and gets in on 54.5kg, a drop back from his 56kg last time out.
While it is his first look at the track, Maher is confident the nice alley and change of hoops can see his horse settle back off the pace and come home late for a charging finish at a course he has worked over quite a bit.
“Racing back is his usual pattern. He’s drawn well. He should sit behind a good speed,” he said.
“He does a fair bit of work out at Sandown, and seems to let down well there so hopefully he can turn his luck around.
“She’s got a good record on the horse, and Michelle’s in a bit of form, so hopefully she can convey that to the horse.”
Sandown Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au, home of Best Tote or SP + 20% for Saturday’s Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m), is firmly led at $2.90 by the consistent Chris Waller-trained four-year-old Good Project.
Akavoroun meanwhile is at $11 for the win, which would be his first since the Listed Winter Championship (1600m) at Flemington back in July last year.
History’s first female Melbourne Cup winning jockey, Payne has a total of six rides across the Sandown card this weekend.
For Maher she rides in the first aboard Emphatically in the $120,000 Listed Santa’s Magical Kingdom Stakes (1000m) for two-year-olds.
The Not A Single Doubt filly debuted in an Inglis 2YO race over the same distance on Cox Plate Day, October 24, for an unplaced 11th behind Dalradian with Kerrin McEvoy aboard.
Payne’s better rides on the card include aboard the James Cummings-trained four-time Melbourne Cup performer Precedence in the $150,000 Listed Sandown Cup (3200m) over the same two miles she won the Melbourne Cup over aboard 101/1 roughie Prince Of Penzance and the race favourite Scarlet Billows for Darren Weir in the $150,000 Group 3 Summoned Stakes (1500m).
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