Jockey Ben Thompson is hoping it’s third time lucky when he partners Bel Sonic in the Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield.
Thompson is taking advantage of a race-free Sunday in Singapore to return home and partner the Jason Warren-trained sprinter in Saturday’s Group One race.
Bel Sprinter was second emergency for the 1100m-feature when fields were declared on Wednesday and has gained a start following the scratchings of Shoals and Ashlor.
He was a $51 chance on Friday with Nature Strip the dominant $2.25 favourite.
“With the Sunday off I planned to come down anyway and I’ve been lucky to be able to pick up a ride in a Group One,” Thompson told AAP from Singapore.
“It was tough to get a ride to begin with but I contacted Jason myself and was lucky enough to get on board.
“I’ll get work out of the way on Saturday and then I’ll spend a couple of days with the family before heading back here on Monday night for track work and trials on Tuesday.”
Thompson, who is chasing his first Group One victory, has ridden in the past two editions of the Oakleigh Plate.
He finished 11th aboard Guard Of Honour in 2017 and was beaten less than half-a-length on Booker who ran fourth last year.
“Hopefully it’s third time lucky,” he said.
“I think the way everyone is seeing it Nature Strip’s the obvious horse to beat and when it comes to the other 17, it’s a really open race.”
Thompson has six rides in Singapore on Friday night before boarding a flight to Melbourne.
Although Thompson has only ridden two winners from 69 rides he has had since moving to Singapore last month, he has 10 seconds placings.
“It’s frustrating, but you can have the same runs at home,” Thompson said.
“You’re riding more often (at home) and the same run might be over 10 days, whereas up here it may be weeks, but you ride a winner and you’re back rolling again.
“I’ve had a run of seconds and thirds since my last winner, but I’m happy with how things have begun. I’m getting the support, but more importantly, I’m learning a lot.”