Top Jockey’s Judgement Spot On

Gr 1 winning jockey Jonathan Riddell celebrated further success at Awapuni on Saturday but in a different role. Jimmy Choux’s regular rider played a pivotal part in the success of the promising WS-bred and sold Aldebaran Star who is trained and part-owned by his partner Trina Marshall.

Riddell purchased the strapping son of No Excuse Needed at the 2009 Festival Sale after the chestnut had originally been sold through the Matamata farm’s weanling draft the previous year at Karaka for $14,000. A half-brother to the stakes winner Tootsie (Pins), he is out of the O’Reilly mare Hyades who is a half-sister to the Listed winner La Rose Noir and the Centaine mare is in turn the dam of Espurante (Listed AJC Bell Handicap).

Aldebaran Star blazed out of the gates on Saturday to dictate terms at the head of the field and, after pinching a break on the turn, kicked strongly in the straight for an emphatic victory. “He’s a big horse and likes to have his own way in front,” Marshall said.

The three-year-old’s victory was a deserved one in the $20,000 special conditions maiden as he had weighted in at all his previous five appearances. “He’s kept running seconds so to get one on a premier day is great,” Marshall said. “He’s always showed a lot of ability and mentally he’s been getting better with each run.”

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