It hasn’t just been about returning to race riding for Michael Rodd as hopping back aboard quality gallopers has been high on his list of aims.
The Melbourne Cup-winning hoop’s road back to the saddle was long and arduous after injury, and nearly 30 rides in since his comeback, the 41-year-old — for all his successes — is pleased to be riding gallopers of the calibre of Prince Of Boom once again.
The Robert Heathcote-trained Prince Of Boom is second-up in the Listed Bribie Handicap (1000m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday after an unplaced run first-up in the Swiss Ace Plate (1000m) behind Nettuno at Sunshine Coast on November 18.
Vets found that the million-dollar earning five-year-old son of Spirit Of Boom had cardiac arrhythmia following that run, but he has since won a barrier trial over 1050-metres at Deagon ten days ago.
Martin Harley rode Spirit Of Boom in that Sunshine Coast outing and in the trial, and afterwards reported to Heathcote his feeling that he and the horse didn’t quite gel. So, the change has occurred with Rodd taking the ride.
“I haven’t sat on him yet but Rob is pleased with how he has come on since that run,” Rodd said.
“He can pull a bit in work — he is otherwise a free-flowing horse. Rob was happy with after that trial, too.”
The $4 favourite will have to carry 61-kilos, which is a big ask especially when giving more than a four-kilo start on the next in the handicaps and market, Shooting For Gold ($5.50).
“He’s a monster of a horse but he’s also a quality horse, so he has to carry the weight,” Rodd observed. “He’s got that quality on the others.”
Playing at home at Eagle Farm is certainly to the gelding’s liking with three wins and a placing at the course in six starts, one go for a win over the course and distance, and a good second-up record. With wins at Group 2 and Group 3 levels during the Brisbane Winter Carnival, the stable will be hoping that success parlays into the summer features.
However, for Rodd, this won’t be just about steering home another winner. “I’m just happy to get a ride on a quality horse,” he added.