Rising Sydney jockey Brenton Avdulla will have the opportunity to ride his first Group 1 winner since 2011 when he partners Trepidation in the Telegraph Handicap (1200m) and Gobi Ranger in the Ocean Park Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham in New Zealand on Saturday.
Avdulla will be making his international riding debut and told TVN this morning that he is delighted to have been given the opportunity on two talented gallopers that are both considered winning chances in their respective Group 1 events.
“Trepidation is my main ride in the sprint race and the connections, including Windsor Park, have organised me a couple of other rides so I am looking forward to it,” Avdulla said.
“I’ve never ridden outside the country, so it should be a good experience to head across and see if I can pick up a Group 1.
“Gerald Ryan is a good supporter of mine and he is giving me a lot of rides at the moment, so I rang him for advice and he said I should go and the experience will be good for me.
“They are still Group 1 races whether they are in New Zealand or Australia, you still want to win them.”
Trepidation will be making her Group 1 debut in the Telegraph Handicap on Saturday, but stamped herself as a leading contender for the event with a dominant three and a half lengths victory first-up in the Stella Artois Handicap (1200m) at Ellerslie on December 28.
The Falkirk mare is chasing her first black type victory following strong performances in the Group 3 Darley Plate at Ellerslie (1200m) and Listed Lightning Handicap (1200m) at the end of her summer campaign in March last year.
Gobi Ranger started his racing career with back-to-back wins in the Karaka Million Maiden (1100m) at Ellerslie and Group 3 Eclipse Stakes (1100m) at the end of 2012 and has raced well without winning since returning to the races as a three-year-old.
The Tale Of The Cat colt resumed with a second place finish behind El Roca in the Listed Challenge Stakes (1200m) before finishing a tough third behind Atlante and Chambord in the Group 1 New Zealand Guineas (1600m).
Gobi Ranger maintained his good form with an unlucky fifth in the Group 3 Wellington Stakes (1600m) and had his final hit out before the Ocean Park Levin Classic with a second place finish in the Group 2 Great Northern Guineas (1600m).
Avdulla is chasing his first Group 1 win since he took out the 2011 Epsom Handicap (1600m) with classy mare Secret Admirer.