Warrnambool trainer Matthew Williams will break new ground when he saddles his first runner on Victoria Derby Day at Flemington.
Williams has been training horses for more than 20 years and Wrote To Arataki, who runs in the Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday, will be his first starter on the opening day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
“We used to go to Derby Day when we were kids with my uncle,” Williams said.
“So, to finally have a runner there, having been training for 20 something years and not having a runner on Derby Day, it will be good.
“It’s not easy to get one good enough.”
Wrote To Arataki will be having her first start at 1600m when she steps out on Saturday.
Williams said he has been hesitant to try the mare at the trip, but jockey Dean Yendall is confident she will handle it.
Yendall knows what it takes to win the Empire Rose having won it on I Am A Star (2016) and aboard Shoals the following year.
“She has a bit of a high head carriage on her, and she looks like she will be too keen, but Dean says she is not that keen when riding her,” Williams said.
“I’m backing his judgement there and it’s a Group 1 race. She’s five runs into the prep now, so it’s the right time to try and if it doesn’t work, then we don’t do it again.
“Being her first time to the mile, we want to ride her for a little bit of a sit, so she might be second pair back or third pair back, or something like that.
“We just want to find a bum and put her to sleep early. She has been switching off much better with the earmuffs, so we’re hoping she switches off on Saturday and runs a strong mile.”
Wrote To Arataki has gradually worked her way through the grades and was successful in Group 3 company during the autumn.
Williams kicked her off with a placing at Caulfield in September and in her three subsequent efforts, Wrote To Araktaki has a win, in the Group 2 Tristarc Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield, a third at Flemington and a disappointing second-up fading 12th behind Amelia’s Jewel at Flemington.
“The only race she didn’t finish off and looked a bit weak was three runs ago at Flemington when they went too hard up front,” Williams said.
“But she’s so honest if she gets sectionals to suit.”