Few jockeys have crossed the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand more times than Opie Bosson, and the top New Zealand rider is set to add to his frequent flyer points in the coming months.
The world #27 (the highest-ranked New Zealand-based jockey in the TRC standings) made frequent trips to Australia in the spring to partner Te Akau stars Melody Belle and Te Akau Shark and he is hoping for similar success in the autumn with the pair.
Melody Belle added a tenth G1 to her tally when she took out the Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) in November before finishing runner-up to Magic Wand in the G1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m), while Te Akau Shark placed in the G2 Tramway Stakes (1400m), G1 Epsom Handicap (1600m), and G1 Cox Plate (2040m).
Bosson will fly to Melbourne this weekend to partner Melody Belle in the G1 Futurity Stakes (1400m), who is beginning her autumn campaign, which will include a tilt at the A$5million All-Star Mile at Caulfield on March 14.
Supporters backed her in droves, with the darling of the New Zealand turf receiving nearly 12,000 votes, the second-highest of any horse (behind Queensland 3-year-old Alligator Blood), securing her place in the unique public-voted race.
Melody Belle finished third in her 1050m trial at Tauranga earlier this month, and Bosson said he was happy enough with her run.
“She needed the hit-out, she had a good puff after it. She didn’t have the blinkers on, so she would have taken a lot of benefit out of it.
“They went quite fast in the trial and I had to give her a bit of a push along, but she was going the right way and felt good. I had no complaints.”
Bosson said the daughter of Commands feels very similar compared to the lead-in to her spring preparation.
She finished fourth first-up in the G2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m). However, Bosson believes she will be highly competitive tomorrow given the feedback he has received from trainer Jamie Richards.
“Jamie said she has come on a lot since she has been in Australia, so I am sure she will be pretty competitive on Saturday,” he said.
Bosson is looking forward to riding in Melbourne this weekend and said he will be well accustomed to airport terminals in the coming months. “In the next month or two, I will be going over there just about every weekend.
“I really enjoy riding in Australia. It is really good prize money, which is great. I’ll ride in Sydney during the autumn and then go up to Queensland.
“Te Akau will probably be taking some horses to Brisbane, so we will probably head up there for the carnival.”