Star Melbourne jockey Damian Lane will ride boom New Zealand three-year-old Catalyst in his upcoming Australian campaign.
Catalyst is raced by Dick Karreman’s Oaks Stud with general manager Rick Williams confirming Lane would replace kiwi Troy Harris in the Group Three C S Hayes (1400m) at Flemington on February 15.
“Damian Lane’s manager emailed and said Damian wouldn’t take another ride until he knew what the riding engagements were going to be,” Williams told NZ Racing Desk.
“We had a discussion last night and decided to go with the local jockey.
“It’s tough on Troy but he took it extremely well and he will always be riding Catalyst when he is racing in New Zealand, which could include the Triple Crown at Hastings next spring, depending on what our targets are.
“I feel for Troy but he has some great rides back here and he will keep riding for us.
“It’s just the local knowledge of the jockeys and the tracks that swayed us to Damian and it wasn’t Troy’s rides in any shape or form.”
Lane had a memorable 2019, riding Group One winners in Australia and Japan.
His Japanese contacts led to his success on Mer De Glace in the Caulfield Cup and Lys Gracieux in the Cox Plate and the Arima Kinen.
The Clayton Chipperfield-trained Catalyst began his campaign in Saturday’s Mr Tiz Trophy, winning the Group Three sprint comfortably after clearly missing the start.
The win took his record to six from seven starts including the NZ 2000 Guineas.
All going well, his Melbourne program will extend to the Australian Guineas and All-Star Mile.