A choice between Melbourne’s hottest jockeys is a nice problem for trainers Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra to have, unlike the increasingly harder task of booking Jamie Kah or Damian Lane.
Kah has cemented her place as Melbourne’s best with back-to-back city trebles to start 2021, taking her season tally to 41 winners, 11 ahead of nearest Damien Oliver (30).
Lane (28), who has not ridden since Boxing Day, surged up the rankings last month with 14 metro winners to leapfrog Craig Williams (25) and John Allen (21).
“Everyone is knocking on their (Kah and Lane) doors now so you got to try and lock them in early,” Zahra said.
“Jamie is getting harder to get, I know that.
“I’m rapt for both of them, they work hard, they’re professional and it’s good to see them get the job done.”
Kah recorded six wins and three minor placings from 11 rides for eight stables across the New Year meetings at Flemington and Caulfield.
The hot streak incredibly saw Kah in five months eclipse the 35 winners she recorded last season to finish eighth in the Melbourne jockeys’ premiership behind nine-time champion Craig Williams (70).
While Ellerton primarily looks after the jockey bookings for the stable, Zahra conceded splitting the stars has become “a bit of a juggling act”.
Damian Lane charged up the rankings last month with 14 metro winners.Source:Getty Images
“When Jamie was hot we wanted Jamie before Damian, when Damian was hot we wanted Damian before Jamie,” Zahra said.
“They ride for a lot of other people so you have got to lock them in quite early, if you don’t lock them in they take rides elsewhere.”
Kah replaced Lane, currently on holidays, on emerging stable star Sword Of Mercy last Saturday at Caulfield and guided the progressive mare to a brilliant victory.
Lane will regain the ride on Sword Of Mercy for the Listed Kensington Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on January 16 with Kah to partner enigmatic stablemate and straight-track specialist Prezado.
Sword Of Mercy and Jamie Kah at Caulfield on Saturday. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
The Listed sprint will likely determine Sword Of Mercy’s 2021 agenda with the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (11oom) at Caulfield next month among possible targets.
“That’s how that might pan out,” Zahra said.
“Prezado is going really well, he’s no slouch up the straight either.
“It should be an interesting battle.”
Kah’s dominance and sustained consistency through the first five months of the riding season is of no surprise to Zahra, who was among the first to latch onto the star jockey after her move to Victoria in 2019.
Horse Racing: With only a few strides to go the heavily backed favourite has slammed on the brakes leaving punters heartbroken….
Horse Racing: With only a few strides to go the heavily backed favourite has slammed on the brakes leaving punters heartbroken.
“We were going through, not a rough patch but things we’re going overly well, and Damian went away (riding stint in Japan) and we threw her a bone and it seemed to really click for us,” Zahra said.
“After putting her on a bit you see how naturally things work out for her, she gets them in a good spot … they (horses) all relax for her, not too many over-race for her.
“She’s continued to ride winners and we’re training a lot of winners, it’s been a good relationship.”
Originally published asSpoiled for choice: Trainers brace for star jockey ‘juggling act’
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