Hills focuses on Group Ones

Cambridge jockey Mark Hills (pictured) is eagerly awaiting his first raceday ride on dual Group One winner Veyron and has picked up another Group One mount.

Hills takes over the reins from Leith Innes on Veyron in the $200,000 Haunui Farm Group One WFA Classic at Otaki on Saturday and has just received news of a ride in the Group I Telecom NZ Derby.

“I’ve picked up the ride on Travolta in the Derby,” said Hills. “He went a good race last Saturday in the Avondale Guineas, especially as it was his first run at Ellerslie. I’m thrilled to get the ride.”

Travolta is trained at Te Horo Beach by John Kiernan, who prepared Pillage ‘N Plunder to win a Group I Adelaide Cup. The son of Handsome Ransom has won twice over 1600 metres at Trentham.

But before heading to Ellerslie for the Derby on March 3, Hills is totally focussed on riding Veyron in the Otaki feature.

Hills has been riding the Linda Laing-trained Veyron in trackwork since regular rider Rogan Norvall was injured and is pleased with the horse’s condition going into the race.

“He’s ready to explode, the way he’s walking off the track,” said Hills. “He’s done really well since the Waikato Draught Sprint. It’s certainly good to be riding a horse of his calibre.”

Hills has kicked home three Group One winners, two of them being at odds of better than 100/1, namely Macavelli Miss in the Thorndon Mile and Jacowils in the Railway Handicap. His other Group One success came on Floydeboy in the Easter Handicap.

Veyron’s first Group One win came in the Easter Handicap and the other in the Waikato Draught Sprint, in which he defeated Mufhasa.