VETERAN jockey Robert Thompson hopes encouraging form can trump wide barriers when he heads to Randwick for two rides on Saturday.
The 59-year-old from Cessnock, Australia’s winningest hoop, will ride Remittance for Scone trainer Rod Northam in the class two Highway Handicap (1400m) and Mark Mason’s Hidden Pearl in the Summer Sprint (1000m).
Both mounts have drawn the outside gate but have chances given their respective form.
Remittance, a five-year-old gelding, was second to All Stand in a 1100m Highway Handicap on December 30 when second-up from a victory at Scone. Thompson rode him both times.
“He’s done all right this time,” Thompson said.
“He won first up in Scone and then he ran a place the other day in the Highway.
“He’s stepping up in distance and unfortunately I drew the visitor’s draw tomorrow, with both outside barriers.
“I seem to be getting those the last 12 months, but anyway, I’ll need a bit of luck. But Rod said he’s done quite well since his last start so I’m hoping for a good run.”
Thompson said the extra distance on Saturday was a concern.
“I wish it wasn’t that far but Rod said he’s given him plenty of work.”
Hidden Pearl, a seven-year-old mare, has not raced since June last year when last in the listed Lightning Handicap at Doomben. She was then transferred from Barry Lockwood’s Queensland stables to Mason’s at Tamworth.
Thompson, who rode Hidden Pearl to a fourth three years ago, was not aboard when she won a trial at Tamworth on January 5 but he has ridden her in trackwork.
Although she is coming off a long break from racing, Hidden Pearl has won four starts and was second in another across six first-up efforts.
“She goes good fresh,” Thompson said.
“She’s getting a bit old now but I’ve done a couple of special gallops on her.
“It’s only a small field and she’s got plenty of speed, so she should be thereabouts.”
Newcastle trainer Rod Ollerton’s Royal Tudor is set to resume in the same race.
On Sunday, Thompson has four rides for Allan Denham at the transferred meeting at Wyong.
The program was moved from Scone because of concerns about forecast heat.
Meanwhile, premier Newcastle trainer Kris Lees will debut exciting Gooree Stud two-year-old Ruling Symbol at Randwick.
Ruling Symbol won an 800m trial at Newcastle on January 5 by 5 ½ lengths and was a $4 favourite with TAB Fixed Odds on Friday for the 2YO plate (1000m).
“This is a pretty hot race, but he has drawn well and he wore blinkers when he trialled strongly on the Beaumont track earlier this month,” Lees said on his website. “The blinkers certainly helped him focus better.”
Lees won the Gosford Gold Cup with Singing on Thursday and was next eyeing the Parramatta Cup (1900m) at Rosehill on February 24 and potentially the Ranvet Stakes or Australian Cup.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.