Everest-winning hoop eyes Diamond

In-form jockey Sam Clipperton has a prime opportunity in another rich Sydney feature.

Jockey : SAM CLIPPERTON after winning the THE TAB EVEREST at Randwick in Australia.
Jockey : SAM CLIPPERTON after winning the THE TAB EVEREST at Randwick in Australia. Picture: Steve Hart

While good fortune has largely been evading Antino in Melbourne this spring, new jockey Sam Clipperton has been busy making his own luck in Sydney and he hopes it might rub off. 

Clipperton celebrated the biggest moment of his career with an Everest victory aboard Think About It last month. 

On Saturday at Rosehill, he will link with the Tony Gollan-trained Antino in the $2 million Five Diamonds (1800m) after coming on the radar for the plum ride with his Everest heroics. 

"It presented from winning The Everest and it's great to have the ride on him, he has been in great form in Melbourne without a lot of luck," Clipperton said. 

"I've had a few rides for him (Gollan) here and there travelling up to Queensland over the carnival, so it's great he's entrusted me to ride what is probably his best horse. 

"Hopefully he has a bit more luck than what he's been having on Saturday, and he should be very hard to beat." 

Antino's woes have been well documented. 

He was desperately unlucky when held up for a run first-up before atoning with a second-up Group 2 win. 

He then finished runner-up in the Toorak Handicap from an outside draw and again had to settle for second to top New Zealander Prowess in the Crystal Mile last start. 

The 1800m of Saturday's assignment is fresh territory but after testing the horse in a trackwork gallop on Tuesday, Clipperton is upbeat about his prospects. 

The jockey said that while sitting on a horse's back before a first race ride wasn't necessarily crucial, it did provide some important insights. 

"Not so much to know what they've got under the bonnet, but more their little characteristics, what's normal for them," Clipperton said. 

"He's a horse with a really nice attitude. He gets up on his toes, he is obviously feeling well like he was (Tuesday) morning, but in his work he was really nice and relaxed. 

"He did everything right, breathed well so the 1800 shouldn't pose any dramas and he's bringing some topline form into the race on Saturday. 

"He's travelled down to Melbourne, he's got to travel up to Sydney and they're things you could nitpick, but he feels like he's really well and holding his form nicely." 

Clipperton is still buzzing from his Everest triumph and says winning a race of that magnitude has reinforced his confidence and self-belief. 

His faith in Think About It had been unwavering, but he said for the horse to vindicate it with a victory was "mind-blowing". 

"He wasn't a horse I picked up two weeks out or had never ridden, I'd ridden him since January, won the Stradbroke on him and to have that belief in him all the way through and for him to deliver, it was incredibly satisfying," Clipperton said. 

Antino, who has drawn barrier two, was a solid $2.90 favourite for the Five Diamonds on Thursday with Democracy Manifest at $8.50 the only other runner at single-figure odds.