Wagga apprentice jockey Josh Richards has been given the ride on Takookacod in the $150,000 Country Championships heat at Albury.
Wagga trainer Scott Spackman and owner Noel Penfold have put their faith in the promising young apprentice in what will be the biggest race of his career.
Takookacod resumed from a long break with a seventh placing behind Champagne Cuddles in the in the group two Breeders Classic (1200m) at Warwick Farm last Saturday.
Rachel King rode the mare but Richards will take over for the Championships qualifier.
“I think he deserves that opportunity,” Spackman said.
“He rides her work and understands her.
“Peter Clancy take a bow. He has taught the kid very well and he’s come back the complete rider.”
It is a big show of faith in Richards, who shared the Southern District apprentice’s premiership last year in his first full season of riding.
Spackman was delighted with Takookacod’s return after undergoing colic surgery.
“I’m very excited,” he said.
“I’m happy with how she’s come back. She didn’t disappoint me and never does.
“To be first up from colic surgery and do what she did was very good.
“I can’t wait for two weeks now.”
Spackman is also going to opt for another apprentice for defending champion O’ So Hazy.
Tamworth-based apprentice Wendy Peel has been offered the ride. Peel’s first two race winners were Cup successes for Spackman on Didnt Even Kiss Me.
O’ So Hazy trialled at Albury on Friday in preparation for first up assault on the Championships heat. She finished second behind Bennelong Dancer, who is also bound for Albury.
The pair ran the quinella in last year’s Championships heat and then went on to run third and fourth in the final at Randwick.
Spackman was happy with O’ So Hazy’s trial.
“She trialled nice enough,” he said.
“We gave her another good solid hit-out this morning and it’s brought her on again.”