New Zealand apprentice Michael Dee could not have wished for a better start to his stint in Melbourne with a first-up victory at Moonee Valley.
On a three-month loan to Caulfield trainer Mick Price, Dee guided the $2.30 favourite Royal Snitzel to a 1-1/2 length victory in the Schweppes Handicap over 1000m.
Despite having ridden 107 winners in New Zealand before heading to Price, Dee was able to take advantage of a 3kg claim aboard Royal Snitzel.
While missing the big upcoming meetings in New Zealand, Dee said Royal Snitzel’s victory more than made up for that disappointment.
“With the Wellington carnival on now I might have ended up with a few nice rides but it doesn’t matter now,” he said.
Dee had been looking to come to Australia to extend his opportunities and it was through New Zealand trainer Harry Ball, who had worked for Price, that he was able to head to Melbourne.
Dee was thankful to Price and connections for giving him the opportunity to kick-off his Melbourne stint on the best possible note.
“I’m very lucky that I was able to get on this horse,” Dee said.
“There was a bit of pressure before the race but it’s finally done now.
“She’s a very nice filly that relaxed very well in the run.
“I thought I was in a little bit of trouble coming around the home turn, but she balanced up and just flew late.”