Having come close to winning his first Melbourne premiership last season, jockey Dwayne Dunn has put himself in a position to challenge once again.
At the halfway mark of 2015/16, Dunn has a slender lead in the title race over reigning premier Damien Oliver.
Last season’s premiership went down to the wire with Dunn, Oliver and Craig Williams all leading at some stage during the final month.
Dunn’s hopes fell apart when he missed the last three meetings through suspension with both Oliver and eventual runner-up Williams overhauling his two-win lead.
Before racing at Moonee Valley on Friday night and Saturday’s Kensington Stakes meeting at Flemington, Dunn’s 33 city wins have him two ahead of Oliver and five in front of Williams.
Mark Zahra (27) and Damian Lane (24) round out the top five.
“I’ve got away to a good start again this season and hopefully I can maintain it all the way through,” Dunn said.
“Damien and Craig are right there snapping at my heels. It’s going to be a good, tough battle again.”
Dunn’s book of eight rides on Saturday is highlighted by stakes-winning colt Headwater who resumes in the Listed Kensington Stakes.
“He seems to be much more relaxed this time in so if he can take that to the races it’s going to be a big bonus for him,” Dunn said.
Headwater’s Hawkes Racing-trained stablemate Onerous is favourite in the Peter Heath Handicap.
Dunn will also be aboard the well-performed former West Australian mare Real Love when she makes her debut for premier Victorian trainer Darren Weir in the Doriemus Handicap (2000m).
Real Love was recently transferred to Weir’s stable by owner Bob Peters from Perth trainer Adam Durrant.
She has won six of her 20 starts including the 2015 Perth Cup and was third to Delicacy in the race this year.
“I’m not sure what they’ve got in mind for her this campaign, but I’m looking forward to riding her on Saturday,” Dunn said.