International horses will carry Craig Williams’ hopes in the spring majors but the jockey will rely on Australian talent to win the Caulfield Stakes.
Williams picked up the ride on Fawkner for Saturday’s Group One Caulfield Stakes at the expense of a suspended Damien Oliver.
Fawkner won the Caulfield Stakes last year and is one of the main chances on Saturday having already won the Makybe Diva Stakes first-up this campaign before a close second in the Underwood Stakes.
“He’s one of the best weight-for-age horses we have in Australia so it’s a privilege to be riding him on Saturday,” Williams said
The Caulfield Stakes, in which Kermadec is the $3 favourite ahead of Fawkner ($4), could settle Cox Plate favouritism.
Doncaster Mile and George Main Stakes winner Kermadec is also at the top of latest Cox Plate markets.
A small but select field of eight will line up in the Caulfield Stakes including Criterion, the globetrotting horse which returns to Australian racing after a three-run overseas campaign.
He is on the fourth line of betting at $7.50 in the TAB market with Pornichet at $6 and Contributer at $8.50.
While Williams reunites with Fawkner in the Caulfield Stakes, they are set to be in opposing camps on Cox Plate day with the jockey confirmed for international Arod for Qatar Racing.
Arod is set to arrive in Australia on Saturday and is at $10 for the Cox Plate.
“He’s an exciting horse,” Williams said.
“To run second in the Sussex Stakes, you’d rarely get a horse with those type of credentials coming to run in the Cox Plate because they have options of America or Ascot, so to get a horse of his credentials is excellent.
“So far the Cox Plate is shaping up to be a top-quality field from start to finish and Arod will make his presence felt.”
Williams has a booking for Japanese stayer Hokko Brave in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.