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Ben Thompson has a good book of rides on the Sunshine Coast on Saturday

Ben Thompson believes he has made a successful transition to the Sunshine State and he can make another impact on Saturday with a book of rides he feels is highlighted by Tony Gollan’s exciting filly Bleu Zebra.

The former Victorian hoop has ridden 27 Queensland winners (including 12 in the city) since relocating to Queensland in August to start the latest chapter of his riding career.

He is currently outpointing his partner, Stephanie Thornton, on the jockey premiership charts although he chuckles that he doesn’t bring that up too much at home.

Thompson had always intended not to tie himself down to one particular stable and that is on show at the Sunshine Coast meeting on Saturday with his nine rides on the day coming from six different stables.

Steven O’Dea, Tony Gollan and Rob Heathcote are his primary supporters and he has rides for all of them on Saturday including Reckless Choice for O’Dea and training partner Matt Hoysted in the Mooloolaba Cup.

But he is convinced Bleu Zebra is his best chance of the day and feels the Gollan runner is a filly on the rise.

The daughter of I Am Invincible bolted in at $1.26 on debut at the Sunshine Coast on July 19 then over-raced in the lead and finished second when the $1.55 favourite at Eagle Farm.

She is the $3 favourite in the QTIS 3YO Handicap (1000m) on the Sunshine Coast on Saturday and Thompson feels she is likely to be too good for her rivals, even from an unhelpful wide barrier draw.

Bleu Zebra was untroubled to win a recent 800m Eagle Farm trial in 44.71 seconds, the fastest for the session.

“I’ve got a nice book on Saturday … it’s one thing to go to the races with numbers but I feel like I’m getting good quality rides,” Thompson said.

“I’ve drawn some ordinary barriers on Saturday but I think my best ride would be Bleu Zebra.

“I haven’t ridden her on race day but I rode her in a trial at Eagle Farm two and a half weeks ago.

“She gave me a great feel that day.

“She has drawn a bit wide but it’s a very fair start and with the rail in the true position, I think she will get into a decent position.

“She has led her first two starts but she can be ridden with cover as well like she was in the trial when she finished off well.

“I will just try to get into a good position and hopefully she will be too good for them.”

Gollan said, ideally, Bleu Zebra would be ridden with cover on Saturday.

“She has got good power and speed, she just needs to harness it more mid-race,” Gollan said.

“I don’t want her to be working in the race but she is not the sort of filly you can drag out the back either.

“She has some speed drawn around her, so I’m happy with that, and hopefully Ben can get her into a nice slot in the one-back pair or something.”

Originally published asZebra set to stride out on Sunny Coast

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