Michael McNab picks up ride on Maharba

With the potential of a jockey shortage at Mornington, trainer Grahame Begg and owner Gary Towzell got on the front foot in the search of a jockey for Maharba at Mornington.

The three-year-old runs in the Listed Hareeba Stakes (1200m) on Saturday, but longer-term Wagga-based Towzell has his eyes on a feature race at home next month.

With that in mind, Wagga-based jockey Danny Beasley was offered the mount at Mornington with the view to riding Maharba in the Wagga Town Plate (1200m) on May 2.

After initially accepting the offer, Beasley contacted Begg on Monday to turn the Mornington ride as he was unable to get a flight to and from Melbourne on Saturday in time for a near full book of rides at Wagga the following day.

It was a scramble for Begg afterwards to find a jockey, eventually contacting leading New Zealand rider Michael Mcnab who is in Melbourne to partner Nereus in the Listed Mornington Cup (2400m).

“Jockeys were always going to be a premium on Saturday,” Begg said.

“I thought I had a jockey, especially with a jockey shortage with those going to Perth and Sydney, but he was unable to make it, which made it a bit tickly, so we were left scrambling around.

“He’s owned in Wagga by Gary Towzell and he wants to have a runner in the Town Plate, so that’s why he asked me to book Danny Beasley.

“I asked him to come and ride him on Saturday to get the feel of him, but it’s fallen through.

“I did read a story that Michael was coming over to ride in the Mornington Cup, so I was straight on the phone.”

That jockey merry-go-round has added to the frustration Begg has had with Maharba this campaign.

Begg was rueing the lack of suitable three-year-old sprinting options for the gelding during the autumn and was eyeing off the Country Discovery (1200m) at Yarra Valley on Good Friday.

However, Maharba missed a run there when he was an emergency while on Saturday the gelding has drawn gate 13 in the 15-horse field.

“He missed that run at Yarra Valley, which was disappointing, but he’s had a 1000-metre jump-out, so he all’s good to go, but he’s drawn a poor gate,” Begg said.

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