Steve O’Dea believes jockey Tim Bell’s affinity with his star galloper Sir Moments is worth more than an apprentice’s claim.
O’Dea’s loyalty to Bell will leave Sir Moments as the effective top weight for the Padua College Handicap (1350m) at Doomben on Saturday after the trainer of the two saddlecloth numbers above him elected to use claiming apprentices.
The lightly raced Sir Moments will be having his first start since he won the Listed Daybreak Lover Stakes at Eagle Farm in June.
At his previous start he scored a sensational win in the Group Two Queensland Guineas thanks to a near-perfect ride by Bell.
“Sir Moments isn’t an easy horse to ride and Tim knows him so well. The others have claimed but I think Tim’s experience with the horse makes up for that,” O’Dea said.
Bell has had a slow start to the season but is gradually getting back to the form which resulted in him winning the Brisbane jockeys’ premiership last season.
O’Dea has nursed Sir Moments through the early part of his career and the four-year-old has won five of his 10 starts.
The trainer refused to be pushed into running Sir Moments in the Group One Stradbroke Handicap this year and could reap the benefits in Sydney this summer.
Sir Moments will tackle a lead-up race at Rosehill in early December before pressing on to the Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on December 13.
Meanwhile, trainer Helen Page will claim on her galloper Rudy who finished strongly for second over 1200m at Doomben when he resumed two weeks ago.
Rudy, who is unbeaten second-up, will carry 52.5kg in the Padua College Handicap after Luke Tarrant’s claim.
The gelding is being aimed toward the Recognition Stakes at Doomben in late November but could also press on for a Villiers start.