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Innes out to round off Triple Crown

Jockey Leith Innes aboard Two Illicit. Photo: Trish Dunell
Jockey Leith Innes aboard Two Illicit. Photo: Trish Dunell

Big-race jockey Leith Innes believes Trelawney Stud's Two Illicit could be the horse to help him complete the Hawke’s Bay Group One Triple Crown.

Innes has won the first two legs of Hastings’ spring attraction, taking the Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) on three occasions (Starcraft, 2004 and Kawi 2015 and 2016) and the Gr.1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) four years ago aboard Kawi, but he has had no luck in the third leg, the Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m) with his best result being a third aboard the Australian visitor Miss Maren in 2009.

However, the South Auckland-based hoop feels he could have the right ammunition with Two Illicit to give him his first Livamol Classic win at Hastings on Saturday week.

“Obviously in a dream world you would want to ride Melody Belle, but apart from her there’s nothing else I would want to be on than Two Illicit,” Innes said.

“I haven’t had any luck in the Livamol and I would definitely love to knock it off. It’s a Group One I haven’t won yet.

“I like riding at Hastings and to win all three legs would be special.”

Innes picked up the early season ride on Two Illicit with regular jockey Vinnie Colgan still recuperating from an operation and, as impressed as he was by his first feel of the Jimmy Choux four-year-old when winning over 1400m at Ellerslie on September 12, his confidence in the  Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) runner-up has grown to a new level after guiding her into fourth behind Melody Belle in last Saturday’s Windsor Park Plate.

“It was a good run last Saturday,” he said. “The way the race was run she never had a chance to travel on the bridle.

“The whole field was chasing from the 1000m and on the face of it she might have looked to be battling to the line, but it was a good second-up run and her sectionals were good.”

That is the first time she has been out of the first three in nine starts and the fact she is unbeaten in two starts over 2000m in the Gr.2 Royal Stakes (2000m) and Gr.2 Waikato Guineas (2000m) boosts Innes’ confidence approaching the step up to 2040m in the Livamol Classic. -NZ Racing Desk