Top kiwi jockey Kelly McCulloch is hoping she can be as successful as her sister Rosie Myers on tough stayer Benzini in Brisbane this winter.
Benzini will be having his first start in Australia since last winter when he races in Saturday’s Doomben Cup (2000m).
Rosie Myers rode Benzini in his three starts last winter which yielded a Brisbane Cup win, a third in the Doomben Premiers Cup and a fourth in the Tattersalls Cup.
She would have ridden Benzini this winter but is out with injury and McCulloch will step in for the campaign.
McCulloch is best known in Australia by her maiden name Myers after getting married last year.
She has been in good form in New Zealand despite breaking a collarbone in a fall last year which meant extended time out of the saddle.
McCulloch has ridden 55 winners in New Zealand this season to be in eighth place on the national premiership.
“I am over here on a what is really a working holiday,” McCulloch said.
“I came over to be based at the Sunshine Coast and help with three horses.
“One has gone home already but hopefully the other two are going to race well and I can pick up some other rides.”
McCulloch said her sister would be keeping a close watch on her during the Brisbane carnival.
“Rosie had a fall and broke a leg. She was desperate to get back to ride Benzini but the doctors have put her back in a moon boot and she is still out,” McCulloch said.
She said Benzini had settled in well since arriving in Brisbane earlier this month.
“I rode him in a barrier trial and it was a good effort to finish second behind what I am told is a smart horse (Perfect Dare),” she said.
“As long as we don’t get a lot of rain I would expect him to race well on Saturday. He gets through wet tracks but he doesn’t want it too heavy.”
“He is a seasoned traveller now and nothing much seems to worry him.”
Benzini, who is trained by Adrian and Harry Bull, ran sixth in the Group One Hong Kong Vase (2400m) in December.
He has had two runs back from a break with latest a third to Tommy Tucker in the Canterbury Cup at Riccarton on April 22.