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Flemington horseman Nigel Blackiston has confirmed jockey Luke Currie will retain the ride on his CF Orr Stakes winning mare Suavito when she defends her title in the 2016 Futurity Stakes on Blue Diamond Stakes Day Saturday week.
Thorn Park five-year-old Suavito returned off a lengthy break to score a three-quarter length win over the luckless Darren Weir-trained Lucky Hussler in last weekend’s Group 1 Ladbrokes CF Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.
It was her first run since a seventh to Kermadec in Sydney’s Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m), after which she underwent minor surgery to remove bone chips.
She showed she had come back bigger and better than every with her classy Orr stakes win to become the year’s first Group 1 winner and take her overall record up to eight wins form 19 starts.
Earlier Suavito’s regular rider last campaign Damien Oliver opted to partner the Robert Hickmott-trained Teofilo stallion Amralah over Blackiston’s mare in the Lightning Stakes.
Amralah, winner of the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) last October, was ruled out of the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival with a leg injury however.
Blackiston kept his word to Currie however who was still able to ride the eventual CF Orr winner to victory scoring just his second Group 1 winning ride following his maiden aboard Roman Arch in the 2003 Toorak Handicap.
“I didn’t realise it was only his second [Group 1],” Blackiston told Racing Ahead on RSN.
“You could see how much it really meant to him.
“Being a battler is a harsh word, but I think he’s always been very, very capable, and that’s been overlooked sometimes.
“I’ve been using him now for six months.
“His style of riding, and his patience, and his horsemanship suits my horses.”
Blackiston will keep Currie on for Suavito’s next-up run back at Caulfield on February 27 in the $500,000 Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m), which she won with Oliver aboard 12 months ago.
“I was disappointed Damien did get off, because I hate changes. But he had his reasons,” Blackiston added.
“I was lucky Luke was available, and had a chat with [co-owner] Ian [Lewis] about him riding the horse, and we both agreed he was suited.”
If successful she will become the first back-to-back Futurity Stakes winner since Niconero (2008-09).
After her Futurity Stakes win last season Suavito went on to take out Flemington’s Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) on Super Saturday before her Doncaster failure.
Both races will be considered for the mare again this campaign depending on how she performs.
Along with the Doncaster Mile on April 2 she is also entered for two Group 1s on Day 2 of The Championships at Royal Randwick the following Saturday nominated for the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) and the lucrative $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).
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