With Craig Williams on the sidelines for the next two city meetings, Beau Mertens will be out to build a bigger lead in the Melbourne jockeys’ premiership at Sandown.
A winning double at Caulfield on Saturday without reply from Williams took Mertens back to the top of the Melbourne standings by one win and Williams was later suspended for careless riding.
Williams misses Wednesday at Sandown meeting and Saturday at Flemington, two of only eight metropolitan meetings remaining in the final month of the season.
Mertens is striving to become the first apprentice since Nick Ryan in 2004/05 to win the Melbourne title and his book of rides at Sandown includes two horses – Tango Rock and Four Sisters – for his master Mick Kent.
But two of Mertens’ eight rides on the program – Oamaru and Miss Iano – have already been scratched.
The teenager rode a winning double for Kent at Caulfield and will be out to do so again should Tango Rock and Four Sisters line up at Sandown with the pair also nominated for Flemington on Saturday.
“It’s a big thrill to get a double for the boss,” Mertens said.
“He’s a good supporter of mine and he’s really helping with some nice horses to try to get this premiership. So I couldn’t thank him enough.”
Tango Rock in entered for Wednesday’s Chef’s Hat Handicap (1200m) and will be chasing his third-straight win this campaign after back-to-back victories at Ballarat in benchmark-70 grade.
Four Sisters was a winner at Sandown two starts ago before being unplaced in Saturday grade at Moonee Valley last start.
The leading apprentice could also notch a significant milestone at Sandown as he only needs two more city wins to outride his claim despite his apprenticeship not due to expire until June next year.
He rode his first city winner in April last year, one of 10 Melbourne winners in the back-end of last season, while he has added another 68 already this term.