The Collett clan is looking for a Super Saturday

The Collett family name is already well known in Australian racing thanks to the exploits of brother-sister jockey duo Jason and Alysha, but now father Richard is expecting action.

A successful trainer in New Zealand for many years, Richard Collett left his native country in August to set up a permanent base in Sydney with his wife, eldest daughter and her family and 10 horses.

A desire to be closer to Jason and Alysha was the main reason for the Colletts’ relocation, although the New Zealand government’s lockdown of the racing industry during COVID was a significant contributor.

“We went through a period in New Zealand where we weren’t allowed to train our horses, they had to be turned out and that was a bit of a catalyst to come,” Richard Collett said.

“It was hard to understand how in New Zealand we couldn’t train them or race them where in Australia Jason and Alysha were going further. I realized where our industry stood in New Zealand in the eyes of the government.

“It was a big turnaround selling the properties in New Zealand and then getting the systems back up and running here. We brought only 10 horses to lighten the work in this way.”

Collett is no stranger to Sydney having a small satellite operation at Warwick Farm a few years ago, a time that whetted his appetite and gave him the confidence that he could do a handful of things.

He has saddled his first runner since his move in October but will increase his presence with two horses at Rosehill on Saturday.

Super Strike lines up in the Furphy Handicap (1400m) after doing his best late in the field behind Coal Crusher at the Hunter meeting at Newcastle, while Super Pursuit resumes in the Kia Ora Praga Handicap (1100 m).

Both have “missed an entire race cycle”, Super Pursuit due mainly to New Zealand racing being shut down due to COVID and Super Strike due to the COVID ban and minor injuries.

“The pair we had on Saturday, one hasn’t raced in a year and a half (Super Strike) and one hasn’t raced in a year,” Richard Collett said.

“Just getting them back into competitive fitness was the thing.”

While Collett expects Super Strike to shine once he gets to a mile, Super Pursuit is an intriguing runner.

He boasts a win over Roch ‘N’ Horse, who later came to Australia and captured two of the country’s biggest sprints, including last month’s Group 1 VRC Classic when he took down Nature Strip.

However, Collett is keeping his expectations in check and admits he is still feeling his way about where his horses, including Super Pursuit, fit into the mix.

“He’s got a lot of skill,” Collett said.

“It’s hard to match the quality of opposition they beat in New Zealand. Roch ‘N’ Horse is definitely a milestone, but we’re still on a learning curve with the top horses.”

Collett’s pair have drawn well in their races and Jason, who married long-time partner trainer Clare Cunningham on Monday, will be aboard both.

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