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By Graham Potter | Friday, September 28, 2018

Graham Potter writes a weekly column for the Sunshine Coast daily. Due to demand from those having trouble accessing the paper these columns are now also published on HRO courtesy of the Sunshine Coast daily.

These days when a horse graduates into big time company it is not a given that its regular jockey will keep the ride. ‘Big race’ riders are courted by connections or maybe it is the jockey’s agents doing the chasing but, either way, the bottom line is that regular riders are often booted in the scramble for places in the saddle … particularly in Group 1 races.

So it is that when a set of connections (owners and trainer) are loyal to their regular rider who is not an established big time racing name it really stands to their credit. After all, loyalty is a dying past-time in racing but, make no mistake, there is still no charity when that kind of decision is made.

When the regular but less experienced Group rider retains the job in a Group 1 race it is because connections think he or she is up to the task and in fact might provide an advantage, compared to going with a new rider, because they know their horse so well. It is a vote of confidence in the ‘team’ and a decision that adds to the pleasure of victory should the desired result be achieved.

On Saturday, in the Group 1 Flight Stakes at Royal Randwick, Sunshine Coast based trainer David Vandyke and jockey Michael Hellyer will be looking to score one for the underdog with the smart filly Baccarat Baby.

Baccarat Baby has won five on the trot and Hellyer has been at the controls on four of those occasions. During that time the filly has gradually stepped up in distance from 1200m to 1400m to 1600m and she has won on good going as well as heavy going … given her eye-catching credentials moving forward.

But this is the big time. Quality three-year-old horses from the stables of Chris Waller, Tony McEvoy, the D and B Hayes and Dabernig training partnership and Team Hawkes top up the opposition and the jockeys involved include the likes of Bowman, McEvoy, Avdulla, McDonald, Williams, Walker and Berry … so Baccarat Baby’s task a formidable one.

But if you have got a ticket you have got a chance … and the Baccarat Baby team will also have a keen following because you can be sure the supportive Sunshine Coast racing community will be tracking their progress in the race with keen interest hoping they can win more than just the loyalty stakes.

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David Vandyke and Michael Hellyer
David Vandyke and Michael Hellyer
Hellyer returns victorious on Baccarat Baby at Doomben

Photos: Graham Potter
Hellyer returns victorious on Baccarat Baby at Doomben

Photos: Graham Potter
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