Rodd a boost to Te Rapa meeting

Gr.1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby candidate Sword In Stone will be ridden at Te Rapa on Saturday week by internationally successful jockey Michael Rodd.

A special trip by Singapore-based jockey Michael Rodd to continue a Singapore connection at Te Rapa on Saturday week has resulted in a couple of Gr.1 bonus rides.

The top-class Australian hoop agreed to head over to ride the Lauren Brennan-trained three-year-old Sword In Stone in the  Gr. 2 $100,000 Waikato Guineas (2000m) and has also picked up the rides on Danzdanzdance in the Gr.1 $400,000 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) and Savy Yong Blonk in the Gr. 2 $100,000 Cambridge Stud Sir Tristram Fillies’ Classic (2000m).

Sword In Stone, an impressive last-start winner at Ellerslie on January 13 after a debut second at Te Rapa, is owned by Singapore businessman Paul Hickman.

“The owner is Singapore-based and I do a bit of riding for him up here, so I was fortunate enough to pick the ride up,” Rodd said.

“I have watched his replays and he looks a very promising, young staying horse.”

Rodd is hoping his charge can show enough to warrant at tilt at the Gr. 1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m) at Ellerslie in March.

“I’ll ride him in the Guineas and if everything goes well, we’ll head onto the Derby,” Rodd said.

“I’m looking forward to getting over there to know the horse and hopefully he can go all the way through.

“Talking with Paul, the owner, they are quite excited about him, so hopefully I can come over there and get the job done for him.”

Rodd will pilot in the Gr. 1 Herbie Dyke Stakes after the suspension of regular rider Opie Bosson.

“It’s unfortunate for Opie that he got time, but I’m very fortunate to pick up the ride,” Rodd said. “She’s a very good mare. I haven’t had a lot of opportunity to go through all of her replays, but I have seen her race record and it is very impressive.

“She’s at the peak of her powers and it looks like it will be the perfect race for her.”

Rodd’s success in New Zealand includes the Gr.1 Kelt Capital Stakes on Prized Gem, on whom he also won the Gr.1 Brisbane Cup for Cambridge trainer Murray Baker.