Kiwi jockey Sam Collett won’t be returning home anytime soon if her Group 1-winning father gets his way after ending the Ipswich meeting on a high.
It’s not often you hear a father say he doesn’t want his daughter to return home, but it is exactly what Kiwi Group 1-winning jockey Jim Collett believes is best for his daughter Sam, who is enjoying a golden Queensland winter following her win on Centrefire in the Listed Gai Waterhouse Classic at Ipswich on Saturday.
Collett took the gamble to make the move to Queensland almost a year ago, and is quickly making waves after notching up her second stakes-level win in less than a month.
Making the trip over from New Zealand this week to see his daughter ride, Jim Collett was as proud as punch while trackside on Saturday.
“I have come over here to see her and she’s turned it on,” he said.
“I got over here on the Tuesday and she has ridden a couple since then.
“When she said she wanted to move over, I thought New Zealand racing was going nowhere.
“I said ‘you have to go where the money is’. She got a taste of it last winter and she has worked hard to get to where she is.
“I don’t want her to come home.”
It marked a red-letter day for Munce, who also trained the Listed Ipswich Cup winner in the form of Smart Meteor.
It was Munce’s fourth stakes-level win in the space of three weeks.
Bouncing from barrier one, Collett took up the speed on Centrefire ($14) and gave an almighty kick at the top of the straight to hold off Maybe The Best ($5.50) in a photo finish.
“I really thought with this mare with the one gate before the track was the way it was had a really genuine winning chance,” Munce said.
“For the horses that we’ve got, they’ve raced probably as well as I could possibly asked. They’ve all be happy, healthy, fit horses and it’d be nice to get a few more like them.”
It followed a dramatic lead-up to the race after favourite Juan Diva was scratched by the Richard and Will Freedman stable just 40 minutes out due to the deteriorating track.
Stewards confirmed they allowed the stable to scratch the horse after the track was downgraded from a Soft 5 to Soft 6 in the lead up.
“Shifty ground doesn’t suit her, we really want her racing on good surfaces,” Will Freedman said.
Originally published as Gai Waterhouse Classic: Leaving home paying dividends for winning jockey Sam Collett