Bayliss hell-bent on Group win
Jake Bayliss is hungry to make his mark in New Zealand at Group-level, declaring he would head home a disappointed man if he can't break through in Stakes grade.
Bayliss took up an opportunity to ride over the summer period for his number one supporter in Australia, Kiwi Mike Moroney and his co-trainer Pam Gerard as well as Lance O'Sullivan and his co-trainer Andrew Scott.
A meeting with Moroney and O'Sullivan during the Melbourne spring sealed the opportunity for Bayliss, who said he was on a plane within the week.
The 23-year-old's motivation was obvious - with opportunities drying up and without a winner since Main Stage on September 9, Bayliss needed a freshen-up - and a trip across the Tasman was just the tonic.
Fifty-four rides later, and he has added 10 winners already - but it is higher honours now that Bayliss wants.
"That [opportunity in big races] is the main reason why I was over here - Lance mentioned himself the next four months here in New Zealand are the best four months of racing, so he said pack your bags as quick as you can," Bayliss told Trackside.
"So that's what I did. We're starting to slip into the main races now.
"My main goal in New Zealand is ... I don't want to leave here without winning a Group race, that's for sure. That's a box I want to tick.
"Obviously to ride plenty of winners for plenty of nice trainers, but I won't be happy if I don't go home a Stakes winner."
The horse to fulfil Bayliss' aim might just be She's A Thief, a two-year-old Ballymore Stables-trained filly that won on debut by 4.8 lengths at Waikato on November 26.
"She's just improved out of sight," Bayliss said of the grey daughter of Showcasing.
"I was very confident going into her first start, and she absolutely smoked them by five to six lengths.
"She's going to target a race Boxing Day, a Group 2 or 3, and then she's going to target the Karaka Million.
"She's not much to look at, but she's a tough little thing, and she's going to hold her own in that race."
But Bayliss will be hoping to even end his Group duck before then - aboard Spring Heat for O'Sullivan/Scott at Ellerslie on Saturday, in the Hynds Holdings Limited Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m).
"She's a nice horse going through her grades," Bayliss said.
"She won impressively when I rode her at Hastings. I didn't have to do a lot on her, and she put four to five on them.
"She's in a nice race on Saturday at Ellerslie; I think it's a Group 3.
"It is a tough little field, a couple of Group 1-winning and placed horses in that, but her work the other day was very nice, so you can't knock her."
And you can't knock Bayliss' form either at the moment, which is benefitting from taking his chance in New Zealand.
NZ was actually the scene of Bayliss' only Group 1 ride to date - aboard Trinity Hill in the 1000 Guineas at Riccarton in 2015 when a luckless seventh behind Risque - and he is hell-bent on making it the scene of his first Group success this summer.