Craig to bounce back at Flemington

Jockey Luke Currie doubts he has ridden a horse to a better second placing than the effort Craig (GB) produced recently at Flemington. The partnership will get the chance to overturn that narrow loss when they return to the track on Saturday for the Rod Johnson Handicap (1620m). 

The Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young-trained Craig (GB) missed by the barest possible margin when second to Rise At Dawn (NZ), an opponent on Saturday, over 1600m on June 8. 

That day, Craig (GB) was held up for a run, but once clear charged at Rise At Dawn (NZ), with Currie thinking he had got up on the line. 

"He just needs a bit of room this time, it's the same sort of race," Currie said. "Hopefully he can jump away a little bit better. I thought if he could've jumped away last time he might have held and prominent spot and he would have won, I think, by panels. 

"I don't reckon I've ridden many [better seconds] and I actually thought he won on the day, so it was a bit disappointing when we came back to scale, but it was a huge run." 

Currie had done all the preliminary work on Craig (GB) and rode the gelding to victory at his Australian debut in a Bendigo maiden. He said some imported horses can put in a poor performance at their second starts in Australia, but Craig (GB) showed he potentially has a touch of class. 

Furthermore, in the case of Craig (GB), as a three-year-old, he is six months behind the others in his age group. 

"He's still not a big strong horse and I think he's still going to furnish a bit," Currie said. "He's a really nice horse going forward, so hopefully we can win on Saturday so I can keep the ride. 

"Third up you would think would be his peak run." 

Currie partners first starter Whateley for Busuttin and Young in the Ken Cox Handicap (1420m). The son of Written Tycoon has been entered and scratched a number of times recently but has shown promise in his jump-outs. 

Currie said Whateley was a nice two-year-old, but still immature. 

"In a couple of his trials he's looking around, but he's trialled well enough to say he'll be competitive," Currie said. 

"I said to them last time, we can keep trialling him but he's not going to learn anymore, you can go to the races and the penny will drop and he'll come out and win or he'll get lost. They need to race to learn."