Michael Rodd’s spring carnival hopes have soared in the past few weeks.
Without a headline horse heading into the start of the carnival, the star jockey now finds himself as the rider of the dominant Caulfield Guineas favourite Rich Enuff and genuine Cox Plate hope Happy Trails.
“It’s funny how it works out. You can’t panic too much I guess,” Rodd said.
“I don’t really have a stable or a main backer and I had some nice horses floating around but no real headline-grabbing horses. Now I’ve got two of them.”
Rich Enuff rocketed to Caulfield Guineas favouritism when he backed up his Mitchell McKenzie Stakes and Danehill Stakes wins with an explosive Guineas Prelude victory on Sunday in his first try at 1400m.
This Saturday, Rodd partners the Paul Beshara-trained Happy Trails who is chasing back-to-back Group One Turnbull Stakes wins at Flemington.
Beaten in a photo in last year’s Cox Plate, Happy Trails showed he was on target for his shot at a second Turnbull victory with his close second in the Underwood Stakes last start.
“His run in the Underwood was outstanding,” Rodd said.
“He had a massive blow after that and Paul has always said his target is the Cox Plate but obviously we’ll try to win what we can on the way through.
“He’s definitely one of the winning chances in the Turnbull.”
Happy Trails surprised Rodd with how well he performed in the Underwood as the jockey believed the seven-year-old would still take a lot of benefit out of the run.
“It just shows he’s pretty much on par with where he was last year,” he said.
Underwood winner Foreteller, Melbourne Cup favourite The Offer, multiple Group One winner Silent Achiever, Cox Plate joint favourite Sacred Falls, and Lucia Valentina who is high in Caulfield Cup markets are among 28 nominations for the Turnbull (2000m).
While Happy Trails carries Rodd’s Group One hopes this weekend he is excited to get Rich Enuff to the Caulfield Guineas (1600m) the following Saturday.
“He’s a real talent,” Rodd said of the Ken Keys-trained colt.
“He didn’t have a lot in his favour yesterday and he still overcame it all.
“The way he relaxed in the middle stages, it’s given me a lot of confidence that going to the mile (1600m) doesn’t hold any problems.”