The battle for the Melbourne jockeys’ premiership will continue at Sandown and trainer Craig Widdison is hoping one of the contenders can steer Willi Willi to another win at the venue.
Craig Williams reunites with three-year-old Willi Willi in Wednesday’s Le Pine Funerals Handicap (1400m) after guiding the gelding to a maiden win at Sandown two starts ago.
Willi Willi’s victory on April 26 gave Widdison his first city winner since going out on his own as a trainer at the end of last year after training in partnership with Peter Morgan.
Willi Willi was unplaced in a Saturday race for three-year-olds at Flemington last start with Daniel Moor aboard but the trainer felt the performance still had merit.
“I thought he did a really good job at Sandown,” Widdison said.
“He’s still very green and still learning a lot but the way he let down the last bit was quite impressive.
“There wasn’t really an ideal next step so we threw him in the deep end there at Flemington but I thought he acquitted himself quite well.
“He got into a bit of traffic but once he got out he still found the line pretty well.”
Williams trails apprentice Beau Mertens by one win in this season’s premiership.
Williams has a full book of eight rides at Sandown with five of those at single figure odds, while Willi Willi is at $11.
“Daniel did nothing wrong on him but we just went back with Craig again,” Widdison said.
“It doesn’t look an easy race, it looks quite competitive, but I think he goes pretty well and it would be nice to get another city win with him.”
Williams rode a winning treble at Moonee Valley on Saturday while Mertens claimed a double to maintain the lead with under two months of the season remaining.
“Either of those two, you’re happy to put on,” Widdison said.
“They are both riding out of their skin.
“(Williams’s) manager was on the phone after his run (at Flemington) and they thought it was still quite a good run and wanted to get back on him. So it’s hard to say no.”
Mertens is booked for six rides with five of those at single figures.