Caulfield trainer Robert Smerdon is banking on the return of star jockey Craig Williams on Saturday to boost the chances of his filly Empress O’Reilly in the Group 3 $150,000 Quezette Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Williams is making his first Melbourne appearance still April following an overseas trip that saw him ride in Japan and Europe and will be keen to get straight back in the winner’s list.
And Smerdon is hoping the experience of Williams will help Empress O’Reilly as she steps up to Group company for the first time.
“You would think Craig should suit her,” Smerdon told TVN’s Bruce Clark.
“She was luckless at the Valley.”
“She should run well.
“I think she’s got the talent to run at this level.”
Williams is replacing apprentice Jackie Beriman who was aboard the O’Reilly filly when sixth to Down The Hatch over 1000m at Moonee Valley on August 2.
At her only other start with apprentice Katelyn Mallyon in the saddle, Empress O’Reilly surprised the stable by winning on debut at the lucrative odds of $26 over 1000m at Caulfield back in December.
Williams will return to racing in Australia on Saturday after completing a riding stint in Japan followed by a working holiday in Europe where he captured the first race on the last day of the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup jockey challenge at Ascot in England last Saturday night.
Williams rode the Robert Cowell trained Goldream to take out the £40,000 Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Dash (5 furlongs).
The topline Melbourne jockey also has early bookings to ride Flash Of Doubt in the $80,000 Mares Handicap over 1100m for Robbie Griffiths and Caulfield Cup hopeful Caravan Rolls On in the $80,000 Handicap over 1600m for the Open class horses for Flemington trainer Danny O’Brien.
English import Caravan Rolls On showed his staying potential at the end of the 2013 Melbourne Spring Carnival with a win in the Listed $150,000 Sportingbet Sandown Cup (3200m) at Caulfield on November 16.
In early Caulfield Cup betting with Ladbrokes.com.au Caravan Rolls On is at the juicy odds of $67 with Australian Oaks winner Rising Romance heading the market order at $15.