South African jockey Callan Murray won’t let the opportunity get the better of him when he contests his first Australian Group 1 in the SA Derby.
Bolstered by some serious international success, South African jockey Callan Murray will be unimpressed when he takes part in his first Australian Group 1 on Saturday.
The 25-year-old already has nine Group 1 wins in his home country to his name – and two Group 3 wins in Hong Kong – and he will have the chance to amass more feature film success when he jumps aboard King Of Pharaohs in the South Australian Derby.
The opportunity comes as Murray finally starts to build some momentum after an admittedly slow start to his Adelaide stint.
After arriving in August, he struggled to make a point early on, but he’s really come into his own lately, with eight wins from his past 35 rides.
With his confidence back, Murray is looking forward to scaring some of his more fanatical rivals on Roslyn Day’s 60-1 chance in the Derby.
“I’m probably more excited than nervous. I’m just glad I got the chance – albeit with a bit of a long shot – but anything can turn up in those kinds of races and if it does (win) it would be a good turning point for my career in Adelaide,” he said. .
“Obviously I’ve had a pretty quiet period here for a while – it took me a lot of time to get a grip – but with a bit of hard work and patience, things have come together.
“I’ve been a bit lucky lately and got some more competitive opportunities – it’s worked out well.”
Murray has traveled far and wide to build support – both on race day and track work – and those travels are starting to pay off.
They say the harder you work, the luckier you get and perhaps that explains how the hoop tasted success aboard the 150-1 shot Swankytoff at Murray Bridge earlier this month.
“It was a very pleasant surprise,” he said.
“I just try to show up in different places every morning and hopefully that gets me the rides.”
Murray isn’t fond of King Of Pharaohs, and neither is Day, who acquired the three-year-old from the Tony and Calvin McEvoy stable after being defeated as favorite at the Warrnambool Carnival last week.
“I sat on him on Tuesday, Roslyn took him to the track and he felt fine – he was a happy horse, he looked great in his coat and I was happy to see the kind of temperament he had, ” he said.
“I can’t really blame him without knowing too much about the horse.”
Murray has yet to make a decision on what to do from barrier 16 (likely to get into 12 once the emergencies come out), but he’s not determined to continue.
“Obviously it’s not ideal, but I just hope we get some luck from that port,” he said.
“After watching some of the past races, some were able to travel three-deep with cover and still be able to win from there.”
Originally published as Callan Murray to ride in Australia’s first Group 1 in the South Australian Derby