Kathy O’Hara has never ridden a winner at Flemington but is looking to change that on the big stage in the Group One Newmarket Handicap.
Sydney-based O’Hara was in Melbourne on Tuesday to put Newmarket-bound Va Pensiero through his paces in a jump-out down the straight in which he finished second to Bernabeu with Shamexpress third.
“He just had an easy jump-out. It just gave him a good look at the straight,” O’Hara said.
“I put him on the outside and showed him the grandstand so he could have a good look, basically.
“He was never really let off the bridle but he had a trial last week so he’s good to go.”
O’Hara has a Group One win in the Coolmore Classic in 2012 on Ofcourseican to her name, but has rarely ridden in Melbourne.
Her only Group One appearance in Melbourne was on Wild Iris in the Caulfield Cup nine years ago when the mare finished among the tailenders.
O’Hara picked up the ride on three-year-old Va Pensiero for Saturday’s Newmarket (1200m) with the colt to carry the light weight of 50kg.
“He’s a nice little colt. He’s obviously got a bit of work to do to win but he’s a classy little horse and is in with a shout, especially with the weight,” O’Hara said.
The Jason Coyle-trained Va Pensiero won the San Domenico Stakes in Sydney first-up last campaign and is at $31 in Newmarket betting.