JOCKEY Rex Dingle will try to do ’justice’ for stricken Matt Griffiths on King George prospect Dashel Drasher.
Up-and-coming Dingle is set to get the ride on Jeremy Scott’s stable star in the most tragic of circumstances.
Griffiths — the regular rider of last season’s Grade 1 Betfair Ascot Chase hero — currently lies in a ‘stable condition’ seriously injured in hospital with a brain injury.
The jockey, 31, was this week transferred to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton from Southmead Hospital in Bristol.
He is continuing to receive treatment three weeks after a car accident which killed a 27-year-old male passenger and left him with a serious head injury. The long-term prognosis is not clear.
Dingle told me: “We all know it’s very sad what has happened to Matt. I will definitely be trying to do Matt justice as much as I can.
“I can’t help him in any other way, but I would like him to be able to watch Dashel Drasher winning big races. Fingers crossed that might encourage him in making a full recovery.”
Dashel Drasher was a joy to behold when battling to success at Ascot, defeating Master Tommytucker by two lengths.
Scott is under no illusion Griffiths is facing a real struggle.
The trainer said: “Although Matt was a tough jockey he’s an incredibly sensitive person and he has a lot to come to terms with not only with his own condition but the sad loss of one of his best friends.
“Matt got on extraordinarily well with Dashel Drasher and we will miss him on the horse.
“At the moment Rex Dingle has done all the schooling. We like to support the guys who support us so he’s due to take the mount.
“Dashel Drasher is a great fun horse. It’s most likely he’ll head for Ascot next month and then we’ll decide on the King George if it looks like he stays.
“If not then the Ascot Chase is an obvious target once again and so is the Ryanair. He’s better left-handed but the ground is the most important thing. He’s a horse who wants it the softer the better.”
Dingle added: “These are not the ideal circumstances to get a ride like this. But I relish the chance.”
Let’s all keep our fingers crossed for Griffiths while wishing Dingle all the best in his career which is on the rise.
Meanwhile, in the early hours of Tuesday morning Incentivise will be a red-hot favourite to land Peter Moody his first Melbourne Cup.
The great Phar Lap was 8-11 favourite when he won in 1930.
Incentivise won’t be that short but at around 6-4 he won’t be far off — especially as every dingo south of Ayers Rock is tipping him to win.
It took Jesus Christ three days to rise from the dead. Moody is the Australian equivalent, although it took him four.
A multiple Melbourne champion trainer — and the man who sent Black Caviar out to win at Royal Ascot — Moody quit in May, 2016.
At the time he was banned for six months after a horse of his was found to have an illegal level of cobalt.
Moody bowed out winning his last race, the Group 1 William Reid Stakes, with Flamberge.
At that time Moody had trained the winners of 2402 races — including 25 straight with the mighty Black Caviar — and around 60 million quid in prize-money.
When Moody closed his Caulfield stables he said he would not return to training anytime soon.
However he also told the owners that a return could one day be on the cards. Well Moody is back, and Incentivise just keeps on winning.
The gelded son of Shamus Award is Aussie through and through, and was absolutely brilliant in the Caulfield Cup last time, slamming Nonconformist by nearly four lengths.
With a strict testing system leading to less European horses travelling, we have the situation of arguably Australia’s best recent hope in the ‘Race That Stops A Nation’ taking on the least competitive opposition!
Last year’s winner — Joseph O’Brien’s Twilight Payment — is there, and is an 8-1 chance, the same price as Andrew Balding’s Spanish Mission but he must pass a vet’s inspection this morning to run.
It all points to Incentivise and will be hard to stop, if he’s not feeling too Moody!
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