Apprentices will heavily outnumber senior jockeys at Canterbury as Magic Millions commitments, injuries and suspensions take a toll on Sydney racing.
Just four fully fledged jockeys will report for duty on Saturday.
And of the quartet, Sam Clipperton and Christian Reith are the only jockeys who can lay claims to having an established metropolitan presence.
Clipperton is set to profit the most as big-name riders such as James McDonald, Blake Shinn, Tommy Berry and Kerrin McEvoy chase a slice of the $10 million prize money on offer during the Magic Millions meeting at the Gold Coast.
Fourth on the Sydney jockeys’ table and enjoying his best season in the saddle, Clipperton has six rides for leading trainer Chris Waller and two for the Godolphin stable.
Reith’s full book is matched by apprentices Taylor Marshall and Jess Taylor and his mounts include the promising Paul Perry-trained two-year-old Jeanneau.
Canterbury has no peer in Sydney racing as a wet weather racetrack and Australian Turf Club manager Lindsay Murphy is certain its recuperative powers will pass another test before Saturday.
A Wednesday morning inspection put Canterbury well into the heavy range and Murphy said the course received a further 17mm of rain between 9am and 3pm.
“All the drains are flowing well and this (wet weather) is meant to take up this evening and if that becomes the case everything will be perfect to race,” he said.
“We may still have a heavy track. It will be soft to some degree but we’ve got no dramas with the track at the moment, especially with the way the forecast is.”
Jeanneau shares favouritism in the Schweppes Handicap with Clipperton’s mount Dissolute and the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Detective, a Paul King ride.
King has mainly ridden at the provincials since moving to Sydney after a successful career in Perth, but he answered an SOS from Gai Waterhouse at the corresponding meeting last year to win the two-year-old race on smart filly Flamboyant Lass.