ROBERT Thompson would much rather be having a crack at another George Moore Stakes (1200m) with Big Money at Doomben on Saturday than the Starlight Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill.
And not just because the champion Cessnock jockey has already won the group 3 race with the Rod Northam-trained Choisir gelding, in 2014. The George Moore is also worth $200,000, compared to the listed Starlight’s $125,000.
Thompson, though, believes Big Money would have had a much better chance in Doomben, despite a wide draw in 12 compared to gate one at Rosehill.
“He’s got a good draw but the race is twice as hard as the one in Brisbane, and it’s a shorter distance, but anyway, that’s what we’ve got to do,” Thompson said.
Northam decided on Thursday to race his eight-year-old at Rosehill, where the track was rated a Good 4 on Friday.
“It’s a heavy eight in Brisbane at the moment and he didn’t want the 10-hour float trip up there and for it to still be raining,” Thompson said. “It would be a wasted trip again.”
Big Money was to run at Doomben two weeks ago in the Keith Noud Quality but the race was washed out and transferred to Ipswich. Big Money was then scratched because of another wet track.
Big Money has not won since February 2016 but was a close third first-up in the Choisir Handicap (1100m) at Randwick on November 7. Apprentice Blaike McDougall had that ride, to lower the weight for Big Money, but Thompson was glad to be back on a horse he has ridden for most of its career.
“He ran a good race the other day and I always like riding the little fella,” he said. “The younger ones are a bit sprightly for him these days but you’ve got to be in them. He’ll run a nice race but I wish it was 1200 metres.”
Another Scone-trained runner, Brett Cavanough’s The Monstar, will contest the Starlight along with Newcastle trainer Kris Lees’ Zestful.