Jennings lands biggest catch of his career
So relaxed was Koby Jennings when he took the call from Godolphin to ride Colette in the $7.5 million Golden Eagle, trainer James Cummings figured the jockey was out fishing.
It was that cool and calm demeanour that helped Jennings handle the occasion of riding in Sydney’s second richest race and reel in the biggest catch of his career.
Jennings usually rides at the provincial meetings on Saturdays and his most significant win had been aboard Bobbing in the 2019 Provincial Championship Final.
But Cummings had no hesitation booking him to partner Australian Oaks winner Colette in the rich Rosehill showpiece.
“He was so relaxed when I rang him that I said, ‘Koby, are you fishing?’ and he said, ‘no but as a matter of fact, I’m watching a fishing show’,” Cummings said.
“So I think I had a pretty relaxed customer on this horse.”
The win was also a coup for the young trainer, who rather than pursue a staying path with Colette, opted to keep her to middle-distances.
Godolphin backed him to get it right and he came up with the goods.
“We had a plan for this spring carnival that we wanted to keep the speed in her legs for the autumn next year. She just freshened up beautifully,” Cummings said.
“We got the solidly-run race we hoped for and Koby kept his head. I just said (to Jennings) ‘listen, let the race unfold from the half-mile as if you’re in a mile-and-a-half race and she’ll eat up the ground late’.”
Jennings let Colette find her feet early and brought her with a withering run down the outside, just as apprentice Tom Sherry on Icebath burst through towards the inside.
The pair hit the line together but wide apart and it took several moment for Jennings to realise he had won.
“I’m not even looking across the line. I’ve got my head down looking at the grass. When we pulled up everyone sort of looked at me and I said, ‘I think I’ve won’,” Jennings said.
Colette ($10) got the verdict by a short head over Icebath ($6) with Dawn Passage ($21) three-quarters of a length away third.
Funstar started favourite but was one of the first horses beaten and jockey Tommy Berry said she did not handle the heavy track.
“Surprisingly she really struggled in the ground,” Berry said.
“We got across comfortably and had a nice easy time midrace. I was in trouble before the corner.”
Colette is part of an incredible crop which has delivered Godolphin Group One wins every season, including the 2019 Golden Slipper (Kiamichi) and Golden Rose (Bivouac).
“This crop of horses we have now have been reared to win the Golden Gift, the Golden Slipper, the Golden Rose and we’ve just topped it off with the grand slam of the Golden Eagle,” Cummings said.