Australian flavour to Railway lineup
There will be a strong Australian flavour to the Group I Sistema Railway (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day.
Heroic Valour and Volpe Veloce, two of the leading chances for Ellerslie’s premier sprint, are Australian-bred and will be ridden by Australians.
Regan Bayliss will ride Heroic Valour and his older brother Jake will partner Volpe Veloce. Jake, 23, has moved from Victoria to Matamata for the summer while Regan, 20, will be making his New Zealand debut on Monday.
The Railway will mark the first time the Bayliss brothers have been rivals in a Group I race.
Jake has been quick to make an impression since shifting to Matamata, with 12 wins, and recorded his first black-type victory in the Group III Hynds Holdings Bonecrusher Stakes at Ellerslie this month.
Regan has had more opportunities at the top level than his brother and won the Group I A$1.25 million Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington in March, on Redkirk Warrior, and also rode Redkirk Warrior in the A$10 million Everest in October.
Regan, who will be riding in Sydney on Saturday, has also won four Group II races, including the Adelaide Cup. He is a form rider, with four wins from his last eight mounts.
Jake has mounts in seven of the 10 races at Ellerslie and Regan has six confirmed rides.
Volpe Veloce will start from an outside barrier in the Railway but has long been near the top of the betting market. The four-year-old has had nine wins from a dozen starts and is unbeaten from three starts at Ellerslie and five starts at 1200m.
Jake Bayliss had his first raceday ride on Volpe Veloce when the Foxwedge mare beat Heroic Valour by a head in an open 1200m at Ellerslie on December 9, with Melody Belle, another leading Railway chance, third.
Heroic Valour, a Fastnet Rock entire, is another who races consistently well at Ellerslie and was a Group I winner on the track as a two-year-old.
Four Australian-bred sprinters – Bounding, Atomic Force, Gold Trail and Imananabaa - have won the Railway in the past decade and there are four in the 2018 Railway, the others being Sacred Star and Speech Craft.
The $200,000 Railway will head a high class Ellerslie programme on January 1, which includes five other group races.