Australian jockey Andrew Adkins has answered the call of trainers Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott and will cross the Tasman next week to ride Jaffira in the Gr.1 Auckland Thoroughbred Racing New Zealand Derby (2400m) at Te Rapa.
“Andrew Scott approached him during the week and he has accepted the ride on Jaffira,” Lance O’Sullivan said.
“We are very pleased to have Andrew, we know he is a good, lightweight jockey in Sydney.”
Adkins has had success with Wexford Stables in the past, placing aboard Sir Charles Road in the Gr.1 Sydney Cup (3200m) and Gr.1 Metropolitan (2400m), and he is looking forward to reuniting with the barn next weekend.
"I haven’t ridden in New Zealand before, so I am excited to head over. Andrew Scott gave me a call and I am happy to jump at the opportunity,” Andrew Adkins said.
“They have been very good to me in the past. I rode Sir Charles Road for them over here and I ran third in the Sydney Cup and Metrop on him. It will be good to have another opportunity to ride for them.”
Adkins is also hoping he can form a few more connections with New Zealand trainers ahead of upcoming carnivals across the Tasman.
“Kiwi trainers come here (Australia) quite a lot, so I am looking forward to going over there and building a few connections that I could possibly ride for over here in the future,” he said.
Wexford have had a strong association with the New Zealand Derby in recent years, winning the last two editions of the race with Rocket Spade and Asterix.
They will have three contenders in this year’s running, including Waitak, Devildom, and Jaffira.
Jockey Craig Grylls was victorious aboard Rocket Spade in the Derby two years ago and has been booked for the ride on Gr.2 Waikato Guineas (2000m) and Listed Gingernuts Salver (2100m) runner-up Devildom, while Canterbury hoop Jason Laking will replace departing jockey Craig Zackey on stakes winner and Gr.2 Auckland Guineas (1600m) and Gr.2 Avondale Guineas (2100m) runner-up Waitak.
“Craig Zackey was on Waitak, but he won’t be riding there that day. It (his return to his native South Africa) is a big loss and hopefully he comes back one day,” O’Sullivan said.
While pleased with his trio in the lead-up to next week’s feature, O’Sullivan said he is enjoying the reduced level of expectation surrounding his runners.
“When we had Rocket Spade and Dragon Leap (in the Derby) we were real live chances. With Asterix there wasn’t a lot of pressure at all and I think that is the same this year,” he said.
“You have got Sharp ‘N’ Smart, Prowess, and Desert Lightning. Our closest one in the betting will probably go out fourth favourite, so there is not a lot of pressure, but we are certainly pretty happy with all three runners.”