Daniel Stackhouse is set to jump back aboard Ashlor in the Group Three Sir John Monash Stakes at Caulfield, with Victoria’s premiership-leading jockey a chance to snare a winter feature for the second week in a row.
Stackhouse steered Sircconi to a dominant victory in last Saturday’s Listed Winter Championship Series Final (1600m) at Flemington which took his season tally in Victoria to 127 wins.
He is one win ahead of Jye McNeil in the state premiership.
Tahlia Hope steered Ashlor to a last-start win at The Valley when utilising her 2kg claim.
Wangaratta trainer Dan McCarthy said the apprentice did a great job last start on Ashlor but with Saturday’s weight-for-age Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) a no-claiming race, senior jockey Stackhouse will be back aboard.
Stackhouse has ridden Ashlor in 16 of his past 21 starts, including four wins and has ridden the sprinter in two Group One races.
“We’ve had a good relationship for a long time and he’s ridden a lot of winners for us over a lot of seasons,” McCarthy said.
“He’s having a real break-out year and it’s probably something we saw a long time ago.
“He’s a terrific guy, a terrific rider and he’s working really hard. He deserves everything he gets.”
McCarthy believes six-year-old Ashlor is as good as he has been for a long time as he prepares to run in the Monash for a second time, having finished fourth two years ago.
“We’ve had feet issues with him for well over 12 months and just these last three or four months we feel like we’re starting to get on top of them,” he said.
“It’s made the world of difference to his whole demeanour and his whole well-being.
“He’s going great at the moment.”
McCarthy said The Valley was certainly Ashlor’s best track but said if he draws the right barrier and gets the right run he was still capable of running well at Caulfield.
The Monash Stakes attracted 12 nominations on Monday with entries extended until Tuesday.
Jungle Edge, Viridine and Widgee Turf are the three highest-rated horses among the nominations.
McCarthy said a sprinter like last-start winner Viridine was suited under the weight-for-age scale but he believes Ashlor deserves his spot in the race.