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Ronnie Stewart will make a rare appearance in Melbourne to ride Savanna Amour

Brisbane-based lightweight jockey Ronnie Stewart will make a rare appearance in Melbourne to ride Savanna Amour in the Group One Oakleigh Plate.

Stewart, who has international experience in Singapore, Mauritius, Malaysia and Macau, has yet to ride at Caulfield.

His only experience in Melbourne has been at Moonee Valley, almost a decade ago.

Stewart partnered Singapore triple crown winner Jolie’s Shinju in two Melbourne races during the spring of 2009, including a third-placed finish behind Whobegotyou in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes.

He then rode the mare later that month in the JRA Cup which was the last time he rode in Melbourne.

But he’s looking forward to the chance of teaming with former Brisbane trainer Chris Meagher in the Group One race on Saturday.

Stewart won five Group One races in Singapore, including three Singapore Gold Cups, but is yet to win at the highest level in Australia.

Late in his Singapore stint which finished in 2011, Stewart rode a number of winners for John Meagher and following his move to Queensland in late 2016, he immediately had success for Meagher and his son Chris.

They paired with Savanna Amour to win the Gold Coast Guineas last May, the only time Stewart has ridden the mare.

Stewart said he had the opportunity to come to Melbourne last spring to ride Savanna Amour when she won twice at Caulfield, but had to knock back the offer.

“At that time I had a couple of horses that were going to be running and we thought it would be best to stay here,” Stewart said.

“When they got in contact with me about riding her in the Oakleigh Plate, I spoke with my manager and I said I’d rather go down and ride her.

“At the moment some of the horses that are Group material won’t be running that day so it seems like the right move.”

Savanna Amour hasn’t raced since finishing second to Lyuba at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup carnival.

The four-year-old finished fourth in a Cranbourne trial on February 5 and is set to trial again over 800m at that course on Monday.

 
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