Melbourne-based jockey Michael Walker will have his first ride for Kelly Schweida as the Eagle Farm trainer chases another two state double.
Walker will be aboard Cellargirl, a $26 chance in Saturday’s Group Two Tea Rose Stakes in Sydney, but Schweida believes her recent final sectional times means she is a much better chance than the market indicates.
Schweida, who is making a habit of having runners in two states on the one day, has booked Glen Colless for Ruling Force in the Open Handicap (1600m) at Doomben.
The trainer is unlikely to back Cellargirl up in next week’s Golden Rose even if she does win at Randwick.
The Schweida-trained Shogun Sun already has a Randwick win and will next contest the $1 million Golden Rose, but while Cellargirl has been in good form in Brisbane, he is not sure she could cope with the one-week back-up.
“Her final sectionals have been good at Doomben at her past two starts. When she won two runs back she would have got close to 33 seconds and she was under 34 seconds again when she ran second at her next start,” Schweida said.
“But she is a lightly framed filly and I don’t know about backing her up. We were thinking about missing the Tea Rose and going with the Golden Rose.
“Both races are hot fields but the Golden Rose is probably the hotter of the two.”
Schweida said he could not remember Walker ever riding for him.
“I saw Michael was in Sydney so I rang him up and asked him to ride Cellargirl,” he said.
“He is an international Group One rider so he will get the job done.”
Schweida said Shogun Sun’s run for fifth in the Run to the Rose won by Menari at Rosehill last week had been a top class effort.
“He ran 32.92 seconds for the last 600 metres which was the fastest of the race. So we just need a barrier to be a few lengths closer,” he said.
The trainer hasn’t given up hope Ruling Force can regain the form that won him the Rockhampton Cup last year.
“The older he gets the more runs it takes him to get into winning form.” Schweida said.
“He won at Doomben over the 1600 metres back in April and it took him a few runs to reach that form in that campaign.”