Champion jockey Craig Williams will be hoping to enhance his winning association with several South Australian horses at Flemington on Saturday.
Williams, who partnered Behemoth to his breakthrough Group 1 win in last month’s Memsie Stakes, has been booked to ride the Gordon Richards-trained pair of Bold Star and Crown Mint, while he replaces a suspended Jamie Kah on Extra Time as the Leon Macdonald and Andrew Gluyas stable chases a second successive Group 2 Danehill Stakes victory (after Dalasan won last year).
Bold Star sits on the third line of betting in the Bobby Lewis Quality following a slashing return at Caulfield a fortnight back.
After settling a long way off the speed Bold Star produced three of the fastest closing sectionals for the day when he was beaten a half-length behind Diamond Effort.
Trainer Gordon Richards arrived back in Adelaide earlier in the week and said he couldn’t fault the horse heading back to Melbourne.
“It was an excellent run first-up and looking at the race I don’t think it’s a great deal stronger,” Richards said.
“He’s raced and won at Flemington before, he’s down on the minimum and his second-up record is really good. Everything is in his favour really.”
And Richards said another strong performance could increase his claims at a second Everest runner alongside stablemate Gytrash.
“If he could come and win and win well on Saturday then he’d have to be some sort of chance,” Richards said.
“The slot holders are pinning a lot of their hopes on these three-year-olds stepping up to the plate, but they all still have to come out and do it on the back of big two-year-old seasons.
“I know he’s capable. He might not be as good as Gytrash, but he’s a very good horse.”
Richards also has Crown Mint making his Melbourne debut and he is bullish about the horse, despite stepping-up sharply in class second-up.
“I would have loved to have one more run in Adelaide with him, but there was nothing around,” Richards said.
“His first-up run was very good. He walked out of the gates and then took a while to get into gear but I think the big track at Flemington and 1400m are ideal.
“I’m a big wrap for the horse and having Craig chase the ride is a plus. He’ll give us a great guide to where we are going in the spring with him.”
Macdonald and Gluyas were forced to find new jockeys for three horses at Flemington. Jordon Childs got the ride aboard Dalasan in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) while Damien Oliver will ride Caulfield Guineas hopeful So You Can in the Exford Plate over 1400m.