Collett back early on Kranji winner's list

New Zealand jockey Alysha Collett has not taken too long to return to the Kranji winner’s circle at her Singapore riding comeback after she booted even-money favourite Bluestone home on Friday.

Bluestone winning the NOVICE
Bluestone winning the NOVICE Picture: Singapore Turf Club

Collett is back for a second stint after the first one was cut short a few weeks before it was up, due to a vertebral injury sustained in a nasty race fall from Drone on October 14.

The 25-year-old went back to New Zealand to convalesce and once she was back on her feet, she put in an application for a new licence, which was successful.

The plucky lass had her first rides last Sunday, without placing in three starts, but she was straight back in business five days later.

From her book of six rides, Bluestone, an impressive all-the-way debut winner as a two-year-old in a Restricted Maiden race (1100m) on July 19, was the standout.

No doubt, the Cliff Brown-trained son of Hallowed Crown faced a sterner test in the $75,000 Novice race over 1200m where he was pitted against the likes of Hotshots Slam, Ocean Crossing and even stablemate Attention who was backing up after his third place last Friday, but Collett rode him a treat for the perfect result at the receiving end.

"I didn't expect to ride a winner that quick. He's a beautiful horse and he hit the line nicely," said Collett, who rode one winner for Brown last year, Sir Isaac.

"The healing process took a while and then I had to get a licence back here. So it was a surprise to get on such a nice horse at only my second day.

"There was a bit of pressure early in the race but I didn't panic. I didn't want to bustle him up.

"I waited for him to get on the right leg and get a good rhythm to the line."

It was for sure a well-judged ride from the winning jockey of close to 380 races, including 11 that were posted at Kranji last year.

Bouncing Bluestone  out swiftly from barrier No 8, Collett did not insist when Hotshots Slam (Matthew Kellady) came punching through on their inside to take over the lead down the backstraight.

Hotshots Slam opened up to two lengths at one stage, but Collett smartly niggled at her mount to keep their main rival in their sights.

As they neared the home turn, it was quite noticeable that the leader was under the pump, while in stark contrast, Bluestone was jogging. Kellady pulled the whip on Shane Baertschiger's charge, but there was nothing left in the locker.

On the other hand, when Bluestone was unleashed, he didn't quite career away, but steadily slipped away while needing just two reminders to keep his mind on the job. Ridden hands and heels, the exciting three-year-old was still a bit wobbly, but well handled by Collett, he was never in any real danger of getting pegged back even if Prime Time (Shafrizal Saleh) closed in well to finish just over one length astern in second place.

Ocean Crossing (Vlad Duric) ran third another length away. The winning time was 1min 9.87secs for the 1200m on the Short Course.

That two-horse between Bluestone and Hotshots Slam never eventuated even if the first two-thirds of the race seemed to be panning out in that direction. Hotshots Slam weakened out to run seventh, more than five lengths behind Bluestone.

With Brown back in Australia for a family holiday, it was stable supervisor Tony Lane who led Bluestone in for his second visit at the winner's stall in as many starts.

"He was very impressive. He's a nice young horse going forward," said Daniel Meagher's former senior track rider.

"He's a progressive type. He jumped good in front even from the awkward alley.

"When the other horse kicked, he still had something up his sleeve."

Costing A$40,000 as a yearling, Bluestone has already won in excess of $80,000 in prizemoney for the Bluestone Stable headed by Brown's good friend Dennis Cornwell.

Singapore Turf Club