Brenton Avdulla figures he owes John Moloney a few favours and a Victoria Derby win would be a decent start.
The high-flying Sydney jockey was just 15 when Moloney took a chance on him and he credits the Caulfield trainer as the most significant influence on his career.
“He’s taught me everything, he taught me how to put a head collar on a horse,” Avdulla said.
“We speak regularly and every time I go to Melbourne I pop in in the morning and go and see him and his brother.
“They’re a good family and I owe a lot to them.”
Moloney was instrumental in Avdulla’s move to Sydney, although at the time both thought it temporary.
A short-term opportunity arose with Gai Waterhouse and Moloney encouraged his 18-year-old apprentice to take it.
That was six years ago.
“I thought I was only leaving him for six weeks but I never went home,” Avdulla said.
Avdulla has gone on to forge a successful career highlighted by a quartet of Group One wins.
But he senses that delivering a first major to the man who taught him about horses might trump them all.
Avdulla and Moroney will team with Pay Up Bro, a $13 chance who has been warming up at the end of his races over shorter trips.
The horse followed a fourth to Derby rival Ayers Rock over 1800m at Flemington two starts ago with a placing in the Geelong Classic when he came from near-last on the turn.
Avdulla reckons the horse has the right credentials but admits he will need luck.
“He’s been drawing wide barriers and he’s got 15 on Saturday. He’s going to get back but he’ll be running on,” Avdulla said.