Sam Weatherley enjoyed his biggest pay day as a jockey at Ellerslie on Saturday and is now looking forward to another potentially rewarding meeting at the other end of the island this weekend.
He combined with the Jamie Richards-trained Pin Me Up to land the thick end of the stake in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) and also partnered her Te Akau stablemate Fellini to finish third in the Karaka Million 2YO (1200m), both features carrying $1 million purses.
“It was a pretty special and I was very grateful of the opportunities given to me the other night, I was thrilled to get the job done,” Weatherley said.
A former champion apprentice, he will be heading south on Saturday to continue his association with Mali Ston, who is prepared by his father Darryn, in the Gr.1 Harcourts Thorndon Mile (1600m) at Trentham.
The 22-year-old has partnered the Markwood Lodge-bred and raced surprise package in all five of his career wins, including the Gr.2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m) on New Year’s Day.
“I’m really looking forward to it. To be fair, he never does anything in trackwork. He went to his first trial and ran a nice second and that really surprised us. Since then, he has just kept improving,” Weatherley said.
“He still doesn’t do anything in his trackwork. This (Tuesday) morning, he worked with a horse of ours that hasn’t raced and it looked to be working better.”
Weatherley is also confident the son of El Roca has plenty of improvement still to come.
“He will be going out after Saturday win, lose or draw and will come back a better horse. He’s only four and is still a little bit immature mentally and physically,” he said.
Weatherley, who enjoyed a successful stint with champion Sydney trainer Chris Waller before returning home three years ago, also has bookings in the supporting features at Trentham.
He will guide the fortunes of He No Opilio for Chris Rauhihi in the Gr.3 NZ Campus of Innovation & Sport Wellington Cup (3200m) and Love Letter for Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen in the Gr.3 New Zealand Bloodstock Desert Gold Stakes (1600m).
He No Opilio has placed at Awapuni and at Trentham in two of his last three starts while Love Letter was a debut winner at Rotorua before she ran third at Taupo and didn’t enjoy the best of luck when a last-start fifth at Otaki.
Weatherley also has a strong book of rides at Matamata on Wednesday, including first-starter Classic Beethoven for his father in The Boltholder Maiden (1200m).
“He’s looked quite good at the trials, but he doesn’t need any rain. Hopefully, the track dries out and it comes back to a 4 or a 5, if it gets any worse he won’t be a starter,” he said.
A four-year-old son of Burgundy, Classic Beethoven has won both of his most recent 950m trials on the synthetic track at Cambridge.
“He hasn’t had any issues whatsoever, he’s just been a bit weak. He’s needed some time and is owned in Hong Kong so if he wins he might go up there,” Weatherley said.