Victorian jockey Dean Yendall will renew his association with Kiwi galloper Justacanta in the Gr.1 Sistema Railway (1200m) at Te Rapa on New Year’s Day.
The Australian hoop had four rides on the nine-year-old in Melbourne last year for trainer Patrick Payne, including victories in the Gr.2 Linlithgow Stakes (1200m) and Listed Paris Lane Stakes (1410m), and placings in the Gr.3 Moonga Stakes (1400m) and Gr.3 Chatham Stakes (1400m).
“When he came over to Patrick I had good success on him. He is a nice horse, he was well presented, and I liked the way he went about his business,” Yendall said.
Justacanta has since returned to the care of previous trainers Shaun and Emma Clotworthy at Byerley Park in South Auckland and his connections were keen to renew his association with Yendall in his first-up run on New Year’s Day.
“The owners messaged me out of the blue asking if I would be interested in going over there to ride him,” Yendall said.
“Apparently he is going really well back home, so hopefully come raceday he is on his game again.”
While he only has the one ride locked in for the meeting, Yendall said he is keen for more.
“I am always looking for rides if they are worth riding,” he said. “Daniel Stackhouse put me onto Aidan Rodley, his riding agent in New Zealand, so he is going to see what he can dig up.”
The meeting will be a hit-and-run mission for Yendall, who is currently sitting on the sidelines through suspension, but he is looking forward to returning to New Zealand to ride Justacanta in the Gr.1 JR & N Berkett Telegraph (1200m) at Trentham a week later.
“I am currently suspended for eight meetings, so I took it straight after Tuesdays’ Terang meeting so I can ride back on the 28th,” Yendall said.
“I will come over on the day before (Te Rapa’s New Year’s Day meeting) and fly back on the day after, but I will come back for the Telegraph and bring Christine (Puls, partner) over as well for a week for a bit of a holiday.
“The owners have a beach house in the Coromandel.”