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A stakes victory for connections of Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist is high on Brenton Avdulla’s agenda as he looks to build momentum heading into the autumn carnival.

Avdulla will team up with Protectionist’s new trainer Kris Lees and the horse’s owners, Australian Bloodstock, when he rides Oriental Lady in the Listed Australia Day Cup (2400m) at Randwick on Saturday.

Oriental Lady

Oriental Lady

Like the Melbourne Cup winner, Oriental Lady is a German import and Avdulla believes the mare has found the right race at the right time as she bids to post her first black-type win in Australia.

“All of these imports take a prep or two to get right and she’s starting to make that progression,” Avdulla said.

Avdulla has built a rapport with Oriental Lady having ridden her in eight of her nine local starts.

She strung together three wins during the winter, including a narrow victory over the Australia Day Cup distance, and the jockey felt she had come to the end of her campaign when unplaced in stakes company last spring.

Her two runs this time around, including a closing last-start second in the Gosford Cup, have given Avdulla reason to believe the mare is poised to deliver him a second stakes success in as many weeks.

Avdulla ensured a hit-and-run trip to Melbourne was worthwhile when he claimed the Chester Manifold Stakes aboard Red Excitement.

“I missed a couple of decent rides in Sydney last week so it was good to get the job done on Red,” he said.

“Oriental Lady went well first up when she was held up and I thought she ran huge the other day in the Gosford Cup. We rode her quiet from the draw and she found the line strongly.

“She’s taken good improvement off it, she’s drawn soft on Saturday, it’s an open race but she gets her chance to win a Listed race in Australia.”

A field of 11 accepted for the Australia Day Cup including the Chris Waller-trained pair of Permit and Multilateral and Danas Best from the Gai Waterhouse stable.

Twelve runners will contest the Listed Carrington Stakes (1400m) in which Avdulla has picked up the mount on Paederos for David Payne.

Magic Millions Cup winner Spurtonic heads the field which also includes Takeover Target Stakes runner-up That’s A Good Idea for Peter and Paul Snowden.

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