It has been almost a decade since Nikita Beriman rode her first Group One winner but she is looming as real chance to win her second.
The 31-year-old has been riding in great style since she returned from more than a year off with an injury to her left kneecap suffered in March 2015.
She has linked with Cranbourne trainer Greg Eurell, riding 11 winners for him in recent months from 41 rides.
The jockey and trainer will combine with $11 chance Fontein Lad in the Group One Queensland Derby (2200m) at Doomben on Saturday.
Beriman has been in Queensland for two weeks with Fontein Lad who is on a mission to win the Classic after missing a run in the South Australian Derby.
She rode Fontein Lad to win at Ipswich last Wednesday and she believes there is improvement in the gelding now he has had a clockwise start.
“At the start he actually wanted to take a step to the left where the rail would be on a Victorian track. But I was able to get cover which was a big help,” Beriman said.
She said Fontein Lad could pull hard in his races and was tricky to ride.
“It took me to the 600 metres to pull him up a Ipswich,” she said.
“But he is a genuine stayer and has a chance on Saturday.”
Berriman scored on 100/1 shot Tears I Cry in the Group One Emirates Stakes on the final day of the 2007 Flemington Carnival.
Eurell has been a regular Queensland visitor with his most famous wins in the 2008 and 2009 Doomben 10,000 and 2008 BTC Cup with star sprinter Apache Cat.
“Fontein Lad deserves a crack at a Group One and he has stood up well since coming north,” Eurell said.
The field for the final Classic of the season will be finalised on Wednesday with connections expected to pay a late entry fee to put Ana Royale in after her unlucky eighth in Saturday’s Queensland Oaks.