Tegan hopes to show her victory smile
TEGAN Harrison had a dental appointment yesterday and she joked she was having her teeth polished so they'd look good in the Ipswich Cup winners' photos today.
Harrison is aiming for back-to-back Ipswich Cup wins when she partners the Rob Heathcote-trained Volkhere in today's $175,000 Channel Seven Ipswich Cup (2150m).
She led most of the way to score a thrilling win on Brave Ali for Toowoomba trainer Tony Gollan.
Volkhere was five lengths back in 11th but wasn't going as well as this year.
Heathcote, meanwhile, is shooting for his third Ipswich Cup success following Our Lukas's historic first consecutive wins in 2009 and 2010.
Harrison wasn't getting her teeth whitened; she's having them straightened but she's still planning to delight her fans with a winning smile today.
"I'm getting Invisaligns so I had to get scans done of my mouth so they can line up my teeth and work out what they've got to do to straighten them up," Harrison said yesterday.
"It's kind of like little invisible mouthguards and you wear them for a year and it does the same job as braces.
"My top ones are like bucking out a little bit now and if I do it now before it gets bad it probably won't cost me as much."
Enough of dentistry, what are her chances of going back to back today?
"Well I think they are pretty solid. I think I would definitely put Volkhere in the same category as Brave Ali," she said.
"It's looking promising with the weather too. I'm hoping for a bit of rain and that will make him a very strong chance if it's wet.
"He's already a chance, even if it's dry but to make it a wet track will steady a few of the others up and he relishes a wet track."
Volkhere has been a consistent performer this winter, finishing close behind Epingle and Pornichet, except for the Caloundra Cup on May 16 where he was fancied but well beaten.
Harrison is confident his last-start close-up fifth in the Brisbane Cup proved Caloundra was an aberration.
"We went out to lead and I just felt that day he was at his top the whole way. Like, he never got a chance to come back underneath me and I felt that's why he didn't go any good," she said. "I probably would have been better off sitting back a pair or two in that race but that's how we wanted to ride him that day and it just didn't work out for him.
"Rob was of the opinion he may have also jarred up slightly on that track. So he had a few excuses that day and I lost no faith in him and he showed that in the Group 2 last week that he's clearly racing well at the moment."
So how much importance does she put on leading today?
"We discussed after Caloundra he's the sort of horse you go out with the intention to lead and then we'll let him be where he can travel," she said.
"So there's not a huge emphasis on it but we definitely go out with the intentions of leading and see what happens from there.
"I think barrier 12 is good for this horse because he can be a fraction slow to begin but he's the sort of horse that definitely needs to be ridden in the first four. So if he happens to be a touch slow away, from out there you're not going to be crossed too soon and you can allow him to get into his stride to keep rolling forward.
"So I don't think the barrier is too much of an issue. If I get caught three-wide, I'll be saying different."
'Big cheer squad'
TEGAN Harrison still has fond memories from winning the Ipswich Cup last year.
"For me it was a very special win on a very special horse," she said.
"Obviously I'm at Ipswich a lot throughout the year and I've had a lot of success at Ipswich.
"That horse in particular Brave Ali was very special to me. My Nan passed away last year and he was her favourite horse and she told me from the first day I rode him to stay on him.
"'He's a great horse', she said 'make sure you stay on that Brave Ali.'
"After she quoted that to me I won two Listed races on him so she was a good judge Nana Rita.
"Everyone acknowledges that race, in conversation everyone knows who won the Ipswich Cup last year.
"To win it is really good for a jockey because for the following year you're going to get support because you won that race.
"The big crowds through the carnival add to the excitement of it all and it definitely pumps you up.
"On your normal meeting at Ipswich there's the same enthusiasm but not quite as many people. So it's great on the big day to have a big cheer squad."