Damien Oliver is keen to start rebuilding winning momentum in Melbourne after joining Dwayne Dunn at the top of the jockeys’ premiership.
Oliver has ridden sparingly in Melbourne since the end of the spring carnival because of suspensions and other riding commitments.
At his first meeting back from serving back-to-back suspensions, Oliver rode Second Bullet to victory on Saturday at Moonee Valley to take his season tally to 22.
“I just haven’t been able to get much consistency since the spring carnival,” Oliver said.
“I had a suspension after the spring carnival, then rode in Perth and also went to Mauritius for a week for a jockeys’ challenge.
“Then I got another suspension when I came back. So I haven’t done much riding here in the last six weeks so it would be nice to get back to a bit of consistency.”
Dunn, who was leading by four in mid-November, failed to capitalise during Oliver’s absence.
He also missed the Boxing Day city meeting and Saturday’s Moonee Valley fixture because of a careless riding suspension.
Oliver won his ninth Melbourne jockeys’ premiership last season with a 19-win advantage over Glen Boss but said he expected a tighter race this time around with seven months of the season remaining.
“It should be a good contest this year, I think,” Oliver said.
Dunn has never won a Melbourne premiership while four-time winner Craig Williams is not far behind the leading duo at the end of 2014 with 19 wins.
Premier trainer Darren Weir also has a battle on his hands, trailing the David Hayes-Tom Dabernig partnership by one win.
Hayes has won seven Melbourne premierships, his most recent coming in 2007/08.
He joined forces with Dabernig at the beginning of this season.