Rachel Venniker pictured earlier in her career in the Nick Jonsson colours of cyclamen, spectrum green crossed sashes, white sleeves and a cyclamen cap (Candiese Lenferna Photography)
Rachel Venniker will become the second female jockey after Genevieve Michel to ride in the WSB Met.
Genevieve Michel rode the Geoff Woodruff-trained Foveros gelding King Shore to 12th place in one of the most iconic of all Mets, the one won by Horse Chestnut in 1999.
Venniker rides the Justin Snaith-trained The United States gelding Without Question and said she was “Over The Moon” to receive the news on Wednesday.
Without Question has dropped to a merit rating of 117 from a high of 120.
The four-year-old will thus be 7,5kg under sufferance with the best weighted runner and hot favourite See It Again.
Ironicallly, Rachel knows See It Again better than any other horse in the race as she is attached to the Michael Roberts yard and works this horse regularly.
See It Again’s owner Nick Jonsson also owns Without Question and Jonathan Snaith said, “It is common knowledge Rachel has done a lot of work on See It Again and Nick Jonsson felt it most appropriate that we make use of Rachel in this Gr 1 event.”
He added, “Rachel is a wonderful and balanced rider and will suit Without Question beautifully.”
However, he did admit, “Without Question has not been the same horse since his poor run in the HWB Durban July.”
Without Question lay in second place in the running in the July, but found nothing in the straight and was beaten 11,65 lengths into 16th place.
The big horse had also been handy in the Gr 1 Splashout Cape Derby and stayed on strongly for third, beaten just 2,50 lengths by See It Again.
However, in the Gr 1 Daily News 2000 he came from off the pace for a good two length third.
Jonathan concluded, “He is probably better than his recent runs would suggest and he will relish the ten furlong trip.”
He actually ran a cracker in his penultimate start when beaten just 3,90 lengths in the Gr 2 Cape Merchants over the too sharp 1200m.
Last time out he stayed on for a 4,10 length sixth in the Gr 2 Anthonij Rupert Wine Premier Trophy over 1800m and that should have put him spot on for the Met.
Rachel recently had her second career win at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth.
She rides regularly on right hand tracks but Hollywoodbets Kenilworth being left handed does not worry her.
“A racecourse is a racecourse and you just have to learn the track and I know it quite well now,” she said.
Without Question’s draw of nine does not bother her either.
She said, “I don’t think it really matters. Draws are not that important over 2000m at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth because they’ve got a long back stretch.”
Without Question is a 25/1 shot and he might make a mockery of those odds if able to run to his inherent ability.