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Trainer calling on Australian advice

28 December 2017, 2:52 p.m.

Gary Hennessy is hoping for a glowing report on Ocean Emperor from an in-form Victorian jockey at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day.

The Matamata trainer has booked Regan Bayliss, whose brother Jake is enjoying a successful stint riding in New Zealand, to partner the Zabeel entire in the Gr.2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m).

Regan Bayliss wins the Gr.1 Newmarket Handicap on Redkirik Warrior Photo: Darryl Sherer

“We had decided on a change of rider for Ocean Emperor and Roll The Gold and I’ve got Johnathan Parkes on Roll The Gold, but he was committed to Coldplay in the Rich Hill,” Hennessy said.

“We tried a few others and couldn’t get them and then (Ellerslie general manager) Craig Baker mentioned that Regan was coming over so he gave me the agent’s contact details and the deal was done.

“He’s flying in Melbourne and it’s a great opportunity to get a jockey of his calibre.

“If the horse goes well then Regan might be able to give the thumbs up to take the horse to Australia.”

Bayliss enjoys a successful association with leading trainers David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig and combined with them to win this year’s Gr.1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington.

The 20-year-old has also been booked to ride the Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards-trained Heroic Valour in the Gr.1 Sistema Railway (1200m).

Ocean Emperor won the Gr.2 Tauranga Stakes (1600m) two runs back before he was unplaced under 60kg in the Manawatu Cup Prelude (2000m).

“He’d gone a month between runs and he was a bit fresh and he couldn’t get any cover,” Hennessy said. “I couldn’t be happier with the horse now.”

If Ocean Emperor runs up to expectations in the Rich Hill Mile, he may then go to Trentham for the Gr.1 Harcourts Thorndon Mile (1600m).

“There’s also the Group One mile (Haunui Farm Classic) at Otaki and he could go to Ellerslie for the 2000m race (the Gr.1 New Zealand Stakes) or we go over for the Australian Cup,” Hennessy said.

He is also keen on the New Year’s Day prospects of Roll The Gold.

“I think he’s going to be a huge chance in the special conditions race,” he said. – NZ Racing Desk.