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Small and sassy pair aiming for Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara glory

3a8d53bd-d6b2-4b55-8618-06e5cd12860b.jpgBy 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.”

xWdm4SmU.jpegPatterson 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.”

ce2c3871-e62e-4e32-be2e-6980509fd98f.jpgThe five-year-old mare is rated a $21 chance as of Thursday afternoon with the TAB to grab an elusive Group 1 on Saturday in the Tiara.

The top Kiwi rider believes a Group 1 victory is on the horizon for her mare Coventina Bay and while it may not be this weekend, she is of the thinking that one of racing’s highest honours is not too far away.

“She has been a fantastic mare for me and been extremely progressive,” the jockey said.

“She has shown every quality that a Group 1 horse has and she still is a bit immature for Saturday, she is not a big mare but she is speedy and she is tough.

“Whatever she will do on Saturday, looking ahead to her next preparation, I am sure she will be a Group 1 winner back home for sure.”

The Shamexpress mare trialled sharply after arriving in Australia on the Sunshine Coast earlier this month before a decent effort in the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes almost a fortnight ago, running seventh as she snuck up the inside from way back in the field on the turn.

After drawing barrier 11 at Blackbird Bar and Grill on Wednesday morning for the Tiara, the experienced rider was pleased with the outcome.

“I am pretty happy with the draw of 11 with the emergencies drawn in a little closer in, we will come in a few pegs,” Collett said.

“What unstuck me last start was that she drew in and as the day went on, the inside of the track was where no one wanted to be and I was forced with my hand up the straight.

“With that in mind coming into Saturday, we will make a clear plan to get out and avoid the inside and hopefully that can be the key to win the race.”

Depending on how Coventina Bay runs on Saturday at Eagle Farm, Patterson may consider a tilt at the Listed Glasshouse Handicap on the Sunshine Coast in seven days’ time, while her travel companion, Puntura, may also find another suitable race after going around on Wednesday at Doomben.