For the most part, Paul King is happy to play second fiddle to the top Sydney jockeys, plying his trade at NSW provincial tracks.
But the former Perth jockey was equally happy to get the opportunity to ride for Gai Waterhouse at Randwick where he notched his first winner at Sydney’s premier track.
King rides trackwork for Waterhouse’s Tulloch Lodge and has a big opinion of youngster Flamboyant Lass, an all-the-way winner of Saturday’s 1000m handicap for two-year-olds.
“I’m grateful for all the opportunities Gai’s given me at the provincials,” King said.
“I’ve ridden in a lot of places and Sydney is the hardest state in Australia with some of the best jockeys in the world.
“With Tommy (Berry) up at the Gold Coast and a lot of the other jockeys away I was very happy to be able to ride here.”
Flamboyant Lass, the $2.30 favourite, came out of the gates cleanly and was never under threat with Counterattack ($7.50) 3-1/4 lengths away second.
She immediately firmed with the TAB to $10 for the Group One Blue Diamond Stakes in February and $26 for the Golden Slipper a month later.
King, the winner of six Group One races, believes she can be competitive at the top level.
“There is a lot of upside to her and I think they want to head to the Slipper with her,” he said.
“They took the blinkers off her today and that helped.”
At her only previous start, Flamboyant Lass finished third to stablemate Pierette over 1000m in October.
King originally came to Sydney in November 2013 because of his wife Samantha’s job and has no thoughts of leaving.
“I’ve given my wife a new job as my chauffeur now,” he said.
“It means I can have a rest while Samantha is driving.
“I’ve always loved it over here and I’m a natural left-hander so it suits my style of riding.
“I’m very happy to be here.”
King’s other mount for Waterhouse, Laidback Larry, finished 2-3/4 lengths fifth in the 1600m open race on the program after being checked in the straight.