With some of Melbourne’s most prominent jockeys away, the younger Victorian riders have come out to play at Flemington.
Apprentices rode seven of the nine winners on Saturday’s program including 20-year-old Ben Thompson who brought up his first career treble.
Beau Mertens chimed in with his first Flemington double aboard the Darren Weir-trained runners Honey Cara and Thermal Current, while in-form Regan Bayliss took out the feature race of the day, the Listed Chester Manifold Stakes aboard Grande Rosso.
Sairyn Fawke, the 26-year-old who is on a three-month loan from Queensland with the Tony McEvoy stable, continued the run for apprentices when he guided the McEvoy-trained Kourham to a narrow win in the penultimate race on the program.
Six of the top 10 riders in the Melbourne premiership were absent from Saturday’s meeting with Dwayne Dunn, Craig Williams, Damian Lane, Mark Zahra and Brad Rawiller at the Gold Coast riding on Magic Millions day.
Apprentice Ben Allen, who sits equal third in the premiership, missed the meeting through suspension.
Thompson got on the board in the opening race aboard the Robert Smerdon-trained Oak Door before adding victories aboard Capannello and then Double Bluff which took out the Rain Lover Handicap (2500m).
“It’s my first treble anywhere so it’s a big thrill,” Thompson said.
“I’ve had a lot of doubles but I’ve never been able to get three.
“You don’t go to the races aiming to get three, it’s just a bit of luck on the day.”
Jye McNeil only came out of his apprenticeship earlier this month and the 22-year-old also landed a winner on Saturday aboard Deja Blue, his first city win as a senior jockey.
Jarrod Fry won the other race on the program, the final race of the day, aboard Rocket Tommy in the Tauto Handicap (1100m).