By Jordan Gerrans
Small and sassy – that is how Kiwi hoop Samantha Collett describes herself and 2021 Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara contender Coventina Bay.
Back home in New Zealand, the trainer of Coventina Bay - Robbie Patterson – says that is why Collett and the mare get on so well, because of their similarities in stature and attitude.
The 31-year-old Collett has taken the impressive five-year-old under her wing in their Australian winter holiday together.
Usually, she is focusing on the riding caper with the eight-time winner, two of which were at Group level.
But with the pair across the ditch and away from their usual training operation, Collett has become the stable hand, box cleaner, track work rider and she even remarked to Patterson that she should be listed as a part-time trainer, as well.
“I have been doing everything,” Collett laughed on Wednesday morning at the barrier draw for the 2021 Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara at Eagle Farm on Saturday afternoon.
They have developed a close bond together on holiday during the TAB Queensland Winter Racing Carnival.
“She is a sassy number and Robbie always tells me that is why I get on so well with the horse, as we are both small and sassy,” Collett said.
“She definitely has her own personality; she likes the attention but does not like to be fussed with.
“She gets around and does her business with not too much of a bother.
“But she will bite and kick you if you are annoying her, she is a strong willed little thing.”
Patterson recently said he valued Collett's time with his mare.
"She gets on so well with my horses," Patterson said.
"She knows them so well, it's invaluable having a jockey like Sam riding track work for you.
"Hopefully some of the better mares aren't here come Tatts Tiara time.
"It might not be the strongest Group 1, but it definitely won't be easy.
"I think she is a genuine Group 1 horse."
The pair have been based at Barry Baldwin’s Eagle Farm barn in recent weeks with Collett declaring the racing stalwart was “marvellous” for the way he has housed them.
“It is fantastic as a home away from home, everyone has been friendly and the weather is good,” she said.
“I am not missing home too much just yet.”