Apprentices to battle it out at Flemington

Ben Thompson has already won this season’s Rising Stars Series for apprentices but will be out to cap the season in the Final at Flemington.

Victoria’s apprentices will compete against each other on the city stage in Saturday’s Rising Stars Final (1600m), the culmination of a series of 24 apprentice-only races around the state during the season.

Riders are awarded points on a 12-6-4-2-1 basis for top five finishes in the designated races.

Thompson’s win in the most recent race of the series at Bendigo on July 7 aboard the Peter Morgan-trained Simply Invincible gave him an unassailable 13-point lead over nearest rival Jack Martin.

“It’s good to have been able to sew up a very competitive series,’ Thompson said.

“It’s something we’re all after. There’s only a four-year window to be able to do it and there’s plenty of super riders who have won the series as well.

“It hasn’t really kicked in as yet, but I’m sure it will when I’m able to collect the trophy on Saturday.”

Beau Mertens won last year’s series but Thompson was able to win the Final at Flemington.

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Mertens is leading the Melbourne jockeys’ premiership this season with 72 winners, one ahead Craig Williams with four city meetings remaining.

Thompson is seventh on the table with 38.

“I won the Final last year on Savannah Moon for (trainer) Rod Symons but unfortunately it only put me up into fourth spot in the series,” Thompson said.

“I’ve had good support throughout the series this year and probably more importantly I’ve been able to ride in most of the heats.”

Thompson has won three heats and amassed 56 points.

The apprentices will be competing in a 1600m benchmark-84 race for fillies and mares which has attracted 21 nominations with a field limit of 12 plus four emergencies.

Thompson is scheduled to ride the Chris Waller-trained Diapason.

“Having won the series, it would be really the icing on the cake to hopefully have the right horse this weekend,” he said.