By Glenn Davis
New Zealand has claimed bragging rights on the opening day of the TAB Origin Jockey Series and will go into the final day at Doomben on Saturday with a slender one-point lead.
Team New Zealand failed to win one of the three races at Doomben on Friday but shot to the top of the Origin ladder after Jason Collett picked up three points when La Scopa ran second to Cabin Fever, ridden by Tasmania’s Craig Newitt in the Class Two Plate (1200m).
After the opening day, New Zealand was on 12 points just ahead of Tasmania on 11, Queensland and Victoria picked up 10 points while NSW and South Australia were on seven points.
Defending champions Victoria drew first blood on day one when former Hong Kong jockey Brett Prebble was successful aboard Lucky Captain in the Class Two Plate (2240m).
Prebble picked up a maximum five points aboard the Rob Heathcote-trained gelding who easily accounted for Korodon, ridden by Damian Browne for New Zealand with NSW rider Corey Brown picking up points aboard third placegetter, The Barracuda.
Prebble, who won the 2012 Melbourne Cup on Green Moon, rode successfully for many years in Hong Kong before turning to Australia recently.
Matt McGillivray put Queensland in contention for the title claiming the second heat on Surprise Bullet in the Class One Plate (1350m).
Surprise Bullet, who played up behind the barrier, stormed home to down Perfect Aim, ridden by Collett with South Australia’s Jamie Kah picking up points on third placegetter Ballet Baby.
McGillivray likened his first victory in the Origin Jockeys Challenge to winning a Black-Type race.
“What a thrill. It’s a bit like winning a Black-Type race and it’s a very proud moment for Queensland,” McGillivray said.
Two races at Doomben on Saturday will decide the Origin Jockey Series winner.
NSW’s Brad Stewart will ride pre-post favourite Al’s Kingdom in the Class Three Plate (1350m) while Team New Zealand is favoured to win the final race of the series when Collett is legged up aboard the Ben Currie-trained Mishani Vaidra.
Racing Queensland and Tabcorp raised a total of $5,000 for the National Jockeys Trust after donating $500 for each point scored by Queensland at the TAB Origin Jockey Series.
Racing Queensland webnews December 7
Photo: Michael McInally