Regan Bayliss has fond memories of last season’s Rising Stars Final and believes he can win the race again this year.
The Rising Stars Final at Flemington 12 months ago signalled Bayliss’s introduction to city racing when the apprentice guided Reckless Assassin to victory.
The Rising Stars series comprises 24 races across Victoria throughout the season which are restricted to apprentice riders with the final run at Melbourne racing’s headquarters, Flemington.
“That was my first ride in town, my first ride at Flemington,” Bayliss recalled of last year’s win on the John Sadler-trained Reckless Assassin.
“I put that up with one of my highlights so far and one of my best days on a racetrack for sure. It was a great buzz.”
Bayliss’s win in the 2014 final earned him the maximum 12 points for the race to finish the series as the joint winner with Jye McNeil.
Riders earn points when finishing in the top five in the respective races, with 12 points for a win all the way down to one point for finishing fifth.
Bayliss can’t win the series this season because he is 24 points behind co-leaders McNeil and Jackie Beriman, but he is upbeat about his chances of winning Saturday’s final on the Peter Moody-trained Kept Woman.
“I think I’ve got a live chance,” Bayliss said.
“Kept Woman just keeps maturing with age and getting better … she scored a good win at Bendigo last start.
“She’s stepping up further in distance and it just looks a perfect race for her.”
With Beriman heading to America on Thursday to compete in an apprentices’ race in Sacramento this weekend, McNeil only needs to finish in the top five on Saturday aboard the Robert Smerdon-trained Every Faith to win the series outright.
The Rising Stars Final (1800m), a race for fillies and mares, has a field of 12 plus three emergencies.
Bayliss rode Magnatune to a runaway 4 3/4 length win at Moonee Valley on Wednesday, his 33rd city win in Melbourne for the season.
Article from justhorseracing.com.au