Canberra based picnic jockey Anaëlle Gangotena will team up with her boss Doug Gorrel at Grenfell on Saturday.
The pair will combine when taking on the feature races with Would Be King contesting the Lane Cove Legends Grenfell Cup, while Sestina is set to contest the Railway Hotel Grenfell Bracelet.
Gangotena will also ride Georgian Court in the 1200m Class Two Trophy Handicap, Sheeza Menzies in the 1400m Class B Handicap and Alpha Lane in the 2000m Class One Trophy Handicap.
“I think a few of them should go alright, Gangotena said.
“I couldn’t really pick one out to be honest – they are all good chances.”
Would Be King will go around as one of the favourites in the Grenfell Cup, and after near misses at Gundagai, Canberra, and Tumut last preparation, the seven-year-old should find it a lot easier in Saturday’s $6,000 feature.
“He has been going really well this prep but just not winning, so I think he is feeling well,” Gangotena said.
“I galloped him on Tuesday on the grass and he felt fantastic.”
Connections have drawn gate five in the seven-horse field, and the Lethal Force gelding will carry 66.5kg, which is much more than what he has carried in TAB races.
“I think he will handle the weight, and I’m not a connoisseur of racing weights, but I thought he would get a lot more,” Gangotena said.
“The gates don’t seem to bother him too much either and he should handle it.”
Sestina is another of Gorrel’s gallopers that has been performing well on the TAB racing scene of late without winning, finishing in the minor placings at Canberra, Queanbeyan and Wagga in recent starts.
The seven-year-old is a proven sprinter though, and from gate three and with 66kg, she looks well suited in the 1000m Grenfell Bracelet.
“It’s the perfect race for her, and she has had a bit of a freshen up as well,” Gangotena said.
“Even though she is quite little, she carries the weight well and she should handle that sort of race.”
The 22-year-old rides a lot of work for Gorrel, and the picnic hoop knows each of her five rides very well ahead of her Grenfell debut.
“Most of them I ride at work, but now that Molly Bourke has transferred to the stable, she has been riding a fair share of the work, but I know all of these horses inside out,” Gangotena said.
As far as taking on the unique Grenfell racecourse for the first time, Gangotena said she would give herself every chance on Saturday.
“Sometimes I will ask some of the senior riders if they have any advice when I go to a new track, and I will get the stewards to take me on a drive around it and most stewards will give you advice as well, especially if there are turns that you need to steer around well,” Gangotena said.
The Ecuadorian product, who has lived in Australia for 12 years, has now been riding at the picnics for 14 months, after debuting at Goulburn in February of last year, and she said she has been enjoying her time in the sport.
“It’s great fun and all the jockeys are great to be riding against,” Gangotena said.
“The picnics are quite different to your regular country races, and you get to a small town, and everyone goes out and you have a crowd and nice atmosphere.”
A big local crowd is expected at Grenfell on Saturday, with a packed six-race-program entertaining punters on track, while fashions and entertainment dominate the off-track festivities.