Apprentices making their mark in Melbourne

Apprentices were to the fore on Chester Manifold Stakes day at Flemington, and some of Victoria’s top young riders are making an impression in this season’s Melbourne premiership.

Seven of the nine races on Saturday’s Flemington program were won by apprentices on a day when a host of senior riders were absent.

Regan Bayliss’ Chester Manifold Stakes win on Grande Rosso took him to equal third in the Melbourne jockeys’ premiership alongside another apprentice, Ben Allen, on 25 wins.

Allen missed Saturday’s meeting because of a careless riding suspension while Bayliss will miss the next two city meetings because of a ban from Sandown last Wednesday.

Bayliss outrode his claim last month.

Senior riders Dwayne Dunn and Craig Williams, who rode at the Gold Coast on Saturday, are the premiership frontrunners with 29 wins and 28 wins respectively.

They fought out last season’s title race with Williams defeating Dunn by four wins.

A winning double to Beau Mertens on Saturday, his first at Flemington, took his metropolitan season tally to 19 while Ben Thompson’s first career treble took his total to 14.

Allen, Bayliss, Mertens and Thompson are all in the top 10 in the Melbourne standings.

After his treble Thompson is 11 wins behind the lead in the apprentices’ premiership with just over half the season remaining.

“Obviously it’s one thing that all the apprentices strive for, but I’m just sort of working away at strike rate and hope that I can try to get that at a reasonable level,” Thompson said.

“And if there’s a month to go I might have a look at the tally to see where I am (in the apprentices’ premiership).”

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