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The Banker checks the jockey benches this weekend

One of the things I am looking forward to is watching the Group 1 action out of Randwick, but more importantly seeing how Jamie Kah measures up in Sydney. It will be like watching how the Melbourne form stacks up against Sydney’s best.

Kah is the runaway leader of the Melbourne Jockeys’ Premiership holding a 26-win lead over Damian Lane with Damien Oliver a further 10 winners further back.

It is a clear dominance, but can she carry that through to the Sydney Autumn Carnival. There is a view that the Sydney riding ranks are stronger than those in Melbourne.

James McDonald leads Tommy Berry and Nash Rawiller with Rachel King, Jason Collett, Tim Clarke next in line while proven Group 1 winners Kerrin McEvoy and Hugh Bowman are further down the list.

The Melbourne ranks are also strong. Behind Oliver is Craig Williams, Melbourne Cup winner Jye McNeil, Mark Zahra, John Allen and Luke Currie while Ben Melham and Dwayne Dunn are on the sidelines. Then there is emerging apprentice Will Price who is also taking all before him.

Are the riding ranks in Sydney any stronger than Melbourne, I doubt it, as you could hand the jockeys any set of silks and know they will give it every opportunity.

But back to Kah, this will be her first serious assault on the Sydney carnival. She has only had eight rides in the Sydney metropolitan area, for one win. And the leading trainers have shown their support, giving her rides in the four Group 1 races.

A by-product of Kah and her leading companions heading to Sydney, it gives the likes of Daniel Stackhouse, Daniel Moor, Michael Walker and the like a few extra opportunities at Caulfield on Saturday.

Jamie Kah, picture Racing Photos

Change of fortune for Rainbiel at Caulfield

Punters are hoping getting back to Caulfield may bring about a change of luck for RAINBIEL in the Catanach’s Jeweller’s Handicap. It was cruel to watch Rainbiel beaten here on Australia Day and she has since followed that up with a good second to Macroura in a stakes’ race at The Valley before running seventh at that track last time out. Her supporters have not lost faith and she has shortened from $7.50 into $4.80 and is now vying for favouritism in an open race.

WA galloper PLATOON has faced stiffer opposition in his three outings in Victoria than what he is lining up against in the Tile Importer Handicap. And there have been plenty to cotton onto that fact with Platoon firming from $3 into $2.30 in early betting. Platoon has placed twice in stakes’ races while he also ran in the Australian Cup which was a fraction too tough. Back to this company, he looks the ideal ‘get-out’ punt.

Be wary of Cummings runners at Randwick

Bookmakers were always wary of money coming for a Cummings-trained galloper and the latest is for the Eward Cummings-prepared DUAIS in the Adrian Knox Stakes. A winner at Warwick Farm over 1600m at her most recent start, Duais has been backed from $11 into $6.50. A daughter of Shamus Award, Duais jumps to 2000m for the first time and she shapes that it won’t be a problem.

Punters are banking on Nature Strip and Eduardo cutting at each other in the T J Smith over the 1200m course which will see BIVOUAC storming over the top of them. Bivouac finished second in The Everest last spring, beating home Nature Strip and Eduardo and after two runs this autumn he should be right at his top for Saturday. There has been good support for the James Cummings-trained sprinter, shortening from $6 into $4.80 to return to winning form.

Smash and grab for Fender at Doomben

Brett Cavounagh has snuck over the border from his Scone base for a first-up shot at the Doomben meeting with FENDER in the Queensland Guineas Day 1 May Handicap. Fender has not raced since last October when finishing midfield on a Heavy10 track in Sydney. Fender went on a winning streak prior to three fair performances in tougher races before winding up his campaign. Punters expect Fender to remain unbeaten fresh, supporting him from $6 into $4.40 in early betting.

Get an early start at Morphettville

The David Jolly-trained CALYPSO REIGN could set the day up in the opening race at Morphettville. Calypso Reign has been supported from $7.50 into $4.20 in early betting. The four-year-old gelding was successful at Murray Bridge three starts back and is coming off a last start midfield finish in a Listed race at Morphettville. Back in grade this time, he looks tough to hold out.

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