Jockey Brenton Avdulla believes that he is on track to get down to the 50.5 kilograms required to ride talented three-year-old Panzer Division in the 2014 George Main Stakes at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Panzer Division has been one of the star three-year-old performers in Sydney during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival to date, after winning the Group 3 Ming Dynasty Quality (1400m) and finishing second in the Group 3 Up And Coming Stakes (1300m), and trainer Paul Messara has elected to give the Redoute’s Choice colt an opportunity at weight-for-age level in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m).
At this time of the racing season three-year-old colts and geldings must carry 50.5 kilograms in weight-for-age events and Avdulla has been training extremely hard to make sure he can take the ride, but he is confident that he will make the weight in time to ride in the George Main Stakes on Saturday.
“The battle is sort of on my side at the moment,” Avdulla told TVN this morning
“The weight is coming off pretty quickly and I got to 52 yesterday.
“I am just sort of hanging around that mark for the moment over the next couple of days and I am feeling it a little bit.
“I have Newcastle to get over first and then I will have a real crack at it on Friday.”
Avdulla has previously had success at Group 1 level riding down in the weights, after stripping down to 52 kilograms before steering Secret Admirer to victory in the 2011 edition of the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) and he said that he was happy to put in the sacrifice required in order to have the opportunity to partner a horse like Panzer Division in a Group 1 event.
“I turned up to trackwork Thursday morning at Anthony’s and I got a phone call walking out,” Avdulla said.
“I thought that it was just Paul ringing me up for Randwick trials, but he offered me the ride and I just had to think about it.
“I checked the weight first and the weight was alright, 55 and a half, so I thought that it was more than worth it for a horse of his caliber that is racing in good form, in a year that I think the weight-for-age horses probably aren’t at their best.
“This time of year you probably get back into the training regime a bit more that what you usually do because you ride a bit lighter.
“That is where I normally get most of my opportunities, down at the weights.
“I have Gerald Ryan as a connection for a stable, but apart from that I ride for pretty much everybody and down in the weights.
“It gets difficult, but it is worth it for these type of rides.”
Panzer Division is currently on the fourth line of 2014 George Main Stakes betting market with Ladbrokes Australia and is at a quote of $7 to join the likes Viscount (2001), Shogun Lodge (2000), March Hare (1993), Roman Artist (1985) and Inspired (1984) as three-year-old winners of the George Main Stakes.