Young gun Jacob Opperman can continue his rapid rise in the saddle when he makes his Group 3 debut in Saturday’s $127,250 Chairman’s Stakes (2040m) at Morphettville.
It will be a tick over a year since Opperman made his riding debut when he continues his association with exciting South East galloper and last-start Port Adelaide Guineas winner Royal Mile.
And trainer Lee Creek admits he thought he might never get another good horse when he lost former top sprinter Casino Wizard, a four-time Listed winner who was placed in the 2017 Group 1 Goodwood behind Vega Magic, back in 2019.
But the desire to find another son of Danerich led him to Royal Mile, who was picked up for just $26,000 at the 2019 Adelaide Magic Millions Yearling Sale.
“I didn’t think I’d find another good one,” Creek said.
“I just wanted another Danerich. I’d had a couple that went pretty good and they are hard to find.
“He was a cracking type, so I didn’t hesitate buying him.”
It’s been a somewhat rapid but well-calculated rise for Royal Mile, who had his first five starts in the South East.
He was beaten at Penola and Naracoorte in his first campaign before breaking his maiden status first-up from a short break in February.
Creek said Royal Mile had always shown ability and promised plenty.
And that was the catalyst for tipping the horse out early on and aiming at the 2021 Adelaide Racing Carnival.
“He’d always shown us plenty, even as a two-year-old,” Creek said.
“But I wanted to keep the travel down and wait before bringing him to town… for when he could get out to the right distance.
“I always thought he wanted a mile and beyond, so that’s why I keep him down here.
“And that’s why we spelled him last year. I said to the owners I want him firing this time of year.”
Royal Mile was impressive winning at his metropolitan debut but it was his brilliant win over Let’s Karaka Deel in the Port Adelaide Guineas last start that made many stand up and take notice.
“It wasn’t a surprise,” Creek said.
“He’d always shown us plenty and I couldn’t wait to get him out to that sort of trip.
“He’s got one of the best turns of foot of any horse I’ve put a saddle on.”
Creek has always believed the horse had the ability to get to a Derby distance, but said the Chairman’s Stakes would ultimately decide where he goes after Saturday.
“The Derby is what the last few months has been centred around,” Creek said.
“I said to the owner he may be a Derby horse. It would be easy for me to say I think he’ll run the trip but we’ll just have to wait and see what happens on Saturday.
“If we get a result like two weeks ago, that’s the way would head.”
And Creek holds an equally impressive opinion of 17-year-old Opperman, who sits sixth on the SA jockey premiership in his first full season riding.
“It’s uncharted territory for both,” Creek said.
“But Jacob knows the horse so well and the horse knows him, so I’m sure they will be there in the finish.”