Jay Ford to partner Welsh Legend i the McKell Cup

Like most Australian racing fans, Jay Ford watched with awe and pride as Nature Strip romped home with the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot this week.

But he didn’t have to imagine the feeling of winning a Group 1 race on the international stage. The jockey has lived it.

Ford partnered Takeover Target to his famous victory in the 2006 renewal of the Royal Ascot sprint and said Nature Strip’s performance revived precious memories.

“It always brings up fond memories because he played a big part in my career and my life in general,” Ford said.

“When I went over and he won there, I was still quite young. I probably didn’t appreciate or realise the magnitude of what that horse was achieving at the time.

“As the years have gone on and I’ve gotten older, you look back and you’re like, he was a champion racehorse and to do what he did was quite special. It has grown on me as I have gotten older.”

There is unlikely to be a horse in Takeover Target’s league at Rosehill on Saturday, but the King’s Stand Stakes-winning jockey will team up with the reigning King’s Stand Stakes-winning trainer when Ford partners Welsh Legend for Chris Waller in the feature W J McKell Cup (2000m).

With Berdibek scratched to run in the Ipswich Cup in Queensland, Welsh Legend will have seven rivals, including stablemates The Frontman and Skyman.

Ford has had the odd ride on Welsh Legend throughout her career and has been buoyed by her recent form in Melbourne with the mare successful at Flemington two starts back and third at the same venue last start.

“She has always been around the mark but this preparation, she seems like she is racing better than ever,” Ford said.

“She has been going really well down in Melbourne and she comes back up to Sydney in what looks an even race.

“She gets in on the minimum, she is in good form, and I can’t see why she can’t run very well again.”

Ford and Waller team up with Kopangi in the Furphy Handicap (1800m), while the jockey also has two mounts for trainer David Payne in two-year-old Allasandra and the talented but hard to catch Bazooka, who he expects to strip fitter for his closing last-start sixth behind Mach Schnell.

About RS NewsWire

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