Melbourne racing has played host to some enthralling jockeys’ premiership battles in recent seasons and this year could prove to be no different.
With under two months of the season remaining, Damian Lane (46 wins) leads defending champion Craig Williams by one while apprentice Ethan Brown remains in the hunt, four wins behind Lane.
Damien Oliver and Mark Zahra round out the top five with 39 wins apiece.
Williams has been involved in several close premiership tussles in recent seasons, finishing second to Damien Oliver in 2014/15 when Dwayne Dunn was also right in the hunt until the final meetings of the season.
Williams has won the past two premierships, edging out Dunn in 2015/16 while last season he got the better of apprentice Beau Mertens late to get home by four wins and claim his sixth premiership.
Lane has the chance to claim his first Melbourne premiership but will start a careless riding suspension after Monday’s Mornington metropolitan meeting.
Lane was suspended for eight meetings at Moonee Valley last Saturday week, with the ban set to rule him out of two metropolitan fixtures this week on Wednesday at Sandown and Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Brown also has a careless riding suspension to serve which is due to begin after Wednesday’s meeting and rules him out of the Moonee Valley meeting.
Lane has rides in eight of the nine races on Monday although the James Cummings-trained two-year-old filly Nivalis is currently an emergency for the Karingal Football Club Plate (1000m).
Williams is booked for six rides at Monday’s meeting while Brown has three rides.
Monday’s meeting is one of 14 metropolitan meetings remaining in Melbourne this season.