Jason Collett rides Behemoth in The Everest and country star It’s Me in The Kosciuszko

HE’S the man in the hot seat for what could be the biggest week of his riding career.

Star Sydney jockey Jason Collett is the envy of his peers with rides on Adelaide’s giant-killer Gytrash in the $15 million The TAB Everest and unbeaten bush sensation It’s Me in the $1.3 million The Kosciuszko at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

In latest TAB Fixed Odds betting, Gytrash ($5) is pressing for Everest favouritism while It’s Me at the top of Kosciuszko markets at $3.

Collett wouldn’t be human if he wasn’t feeling a little nervous with two such high profile mounts on Everest Day but the star Sydney jockey said his Randwick treble last weekend including a Group 1 win on Montefilia in the Spring Champion Stakes was a timely boost to his confidence

“Montefilia was a huge help,’’ Collett said. “Her win was a big result for me mentally, to get a short-priced favourite up in a Sydney Group 1 race.’’

Collett was straight back to business on Monday morning, riding at the Randwick barrier trials session soon after partnering Gytrash in his final fast workout at Warwick Farm.

Gytrash worked alongside regular trackwork companion Noble Boy, galloping over 1000m and quickening from the 600m.

“We were happy with his gallop, he did a nice, strong piece of work, he had a good hitout,’’ Collett said.

Unlike some of his main Everest rivals, Gytrash has had a trouble-free preparation since gunning down Nature Strip in the Concorde Stakes last month.

“In the weeks leading into The Everest, some of the results are not what a lot of people were anticipating,’’ Collett said.

Jason Collett with partner Clare Cunningham. Photo: Mark Evans/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“Nature Strip has lost twice, Libertini has come out of the woodwork, and some of the others have had little issues.

“But touch wood it has all worked out well for Gytrash. He has been out of the limelight a little as he has only had the one start (in Sydney) which he won but his preparation has been very good.’’

The all-important barrier draw for The Everest – held at Sydney Tower from 7.30pm on Tuesday evening – doesn’t faze Collett, either.

“You can’t control the barrier draw so I’m not too fussed, we will see what happens but Gytrash is very versatile,’’ he said.

There had been some “talk” that It’s Me could be a late inclusion in The Everest field but Collett said The Kosciuszko is the right race for the brilliant mare who is protecting a perfect race record (three wins from as many starts) on Saturday.

Winning on It’s Me at Randwick. Photo: Mark Evans/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“Sanity does prevail,’’ said Collett, relieved he is riding the mare in The Kosciuszko.

“It’s Me is very exciting but she is very raw. Her ‘ringcraft’ is not quite there yet and that could be her undoing on Saturday but she has the raw ability.’’

Collett said he can’t say for sure he has “got to the bottom” of It’s Me in a race.

“Each time I’ve ridden her I’ve eased down and looked around, probably a bit in awe of how easily she has done it,’’ he said.

“I don’t think that will be the case on Saturday as she is out of the class 3 Highway grade and against the open-class country horses but I’m still excited to be riding her.

“She improved every start and I would say she will improve again. Maybe she will be back for The Everest in 2021.’’

Originally published asCollett is cool under pressure

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