Richie’s Vibe will be striving to do something only Black Caviar has achieved when he chases a second Australia Stakes win at Moonee Valley.
And trainer Paul Beshara won’t be surprised if the six-year-old manages the feat against more fancied rivals in the 1200m weight-for-age race on Saturday.
“I don’t think it would be an upset,” Beshara said.
“I think he’s a very good chance. He’s right in it.”
Richie’s Vibe won the 2014 Australia Stakes when he was trained by Tony Vasil while Beshara was serving a six-month disqualification.
The horse hasn’t won since but Beshara was happy with his most recent run from a let-up when he carried 59kg in the Christmas Stakes at Morphettville and was beaten half a length by the fast-finishing Justify That.
The trainer also considers the booking of champion jockey Damien Oliver a coup.
“Damien will give him the best run in the race, so that will help him a lot,” Beshara said.
“(Richie’s Vibe) is a very well horse and he’ll be very competitive on Saturday.”
The retired undefeated champion Black Caviar is the only dual winner of the Australia Stakes in the race’s near 30-year history.
She won in 2010 as a three-year-old and again two years later.
Eight-year-old Mourinho, last year’s winner, is also back for another shot at the race first-up.
Mourinho and Richie’s Vibe, a $21 chance in early betting, will jump from adjacent stalls in the 13-horse field having drawn barriers two and three respectively.
Oliver rode Richie’s Vibe to his Australia Stakes win two years ago and hasn’t been aboard the gelding in a race since the Rubiton Stakes in February last year.
Beshara will weigh up his plans for Richie’s Vibe after Saturday but says the horse could be spelled ahead of a potential Group One target in Adelaide later in the season.
“I’d like to have a go at The Goodwood with him,” Beshara said.
Sydney sprinter Rebel Dane, one of four Group One winners in the race, is the $3.20 favourite with seven of the 13 horses under double figure odds.