History suggests jockey can cause another Group 1 boilover
RACHEL King will be striving for another Spring Champion Stakes shock when she rides Battenburg in the three-year-old classic at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Battenburg is still a maiden after three starts and a $51 bolter with Ladbrokes for the Group 1 $1 million race.
But the Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) has a history of upset results and King contributed to that tradition when she won on the filly Maid Of Heaven last year.
King rode the first Group 1 winner of her career when Maid Of Heaven scored narrowly at odds of $14.
Battenburg will be an even bigger boilover if he can beat highly rated three-year-olds Shadow Hero, Castelvecchio, Quick Thinker and Just Thinkin' on Saturday.
The Spring Champion Stakes often produces the unexpected, with Teranaba (2006) and Monaco Consul (2009) both winning as $51 outsiders in recent years.
Battenburg is at similar odds after being unplaced at his first two starts but goes into Saturday's big race after a narrow loss against older horses when second to Lewis at Canterbury last start.
The last maiden to win the Spring Champion Stakes was Viking Ruler in 2001.
King had her first ride on Battenburg at trackwork during the week and although she admitted the John Thompson-trained three-year-old was "still very raw", she could sense the staying promise of the gelding.
"Battenburg is still very much unknown - he is not the finished package yet,'' King said of her three-race veteran.
"This is a big step up in class for him but distance-wise and the track will really suit him.
"The potential is there and I can see why John and the owners want to have a throw at the stumps.''
King has five rides at the Randwick meeting, including the talented mare Fasika in the $500,000 Silver Eagle (1300m).
Fasika won her first three starts, including the Listed South Pacific Classic last autumn, before resuming with a narrow loss to Mizzy in the Sheraco Stakes.
The Joe Pride-trained Fasika was never closer than three wide without cover that day and her effort to be edged out in a tight photo finish was outstanding. Mizzy then won the Golden Pendant to frank the form.
The two in-form mares clash again in the Silver Eagle with Fasika at $5 with Ladbrokes, and Mizzy rated a $6.50 chance behind boom Tasmanian four-year-old The Inevitable.
King has never ridden Fasika in a race, either, but got the opportunity to partner the mare in a Warwick Farm barrier trial last Tuesday when a close fourth to Esperance.
"Fasika was very impressive, I thought,'' King said.
"She wasn't out to do too much given it was the Tuesday before a race but she has that class about her.
"It was just the way she kept extending to the line even though I wasn't asking her to do anything. She's a quality mare.''
Fasika has drawn ideally in barrier two for Saturday's race and should get her chance.
King also rides the smart mare Aqua D'ivinia in the Cerrone Handicap (1400m).
Aqua D'ivinia, trained by Matthew Smith, is another first-time race ride for King but the jockey has ridden the mare in two recent barrier trials.
"She usually improves after her first-up run but her trials have been good, she is ready to go,'' King enthused.
King also rides Carillon in the TAB Highway (1600m) and Tessera in the Drinkwise Handicap (1100m).
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