Apprentice Ben Allen will be out to make the most of early season opportunities on two well-performed Darren Weir-trained horses at Caulfield.
Allen reunites with stayer Big Duke in a 1600m-handicap and has also been booked to ride quality Japanese import Tosen Stardom in the day’s feature race, the P B Lawrence Stakes.
The teenager has five Caulfield rides and is the only apprentice in the Group Two weight-for-age feature.
Both Tosen Stardom and Big Duke race in the colours of Luke Murrell and Jamie Lovett’s Australian Bloodstock.
Allen rode Big Duke in four of his first six Australian starts for three wins and a second, including victory in the Group Three Launceston Cup (2400m) in February.
Big Duke then went to Sydney and won the Manion Cup and Chairman’s Handicap under Craig Williams before finishing third in the Sydney Cup with Glen Boss aboard.
Big Duke was crowned the NSW Stayer of the Year on Thursday night.
“It’s good to be back on him,” Allen said.
“Hopefully I can keep the ride this time. I’m hoping if I ride him well they’ll let me stick with him and ride him in all the races they’ve got lined up for him.”
Allen rode Tosen Stardom to second in the Group Two Blamey Stakes at his most recent start in March.
Tosen Stardom is one of six entries for Weir in the Lawrence and was on the third line of betting on Friday behind Black Heart Bart and Hartnell.
Tosen Stardom was beaten in a photo finish by Black Heart Bart over the Caulfield 1400m in the Group One Futurity Stakes first-up last preparation.
“I’m quite lucky,” Allen said.
“I thought Willo (Craig Williams) would have been definitely riding him but he’s picked up the ride on Hartnell.
“I’m lucky enough that Luke and Jamie and Darren Weir have been kind enough to give me the opportunity to have another ride on him.
“And hopefully he’s ready to win.”