Mertens to ride Supido in Bletchingly

Leading apprentice Beau Mertens has been given a golden opportunity to land his first Group win with the prized ride on Bletchingly Stakes favourite Supido.

The Mick Kent-trained Supido was ridden to victory in the Group Three Monash Stakes last Saturday week by Luke Nolen but he is on holidays and Mertens has got the nod for the ride on Saturday at Caulfield.

Mertens is indentured to Kent and has ridden the sprinter on the training track.

“He’s obviously a good ride and he’s in good order,” Mertens said.

“So I certainly can’t complain about picking up the ride.

“I rode him in two of his trials before the Monash and he won both of them and he went quite well for me. Mick has got the confidence to put me on on race day, which is good.”

Mertens has had a breakout season in Melbourne in the past 12 months and has won three Listed races but is yet to win a race at Group level.

Supido is the early $3.40 favourite for the Group Three Bletchingly (1200m), the final Group race of the 2016/17 season in Australia.

The weight-for-age race has attracted a strong field of 13, headed by the return of multiple Group One winner Lankan Rupee for his first start since last spring.

Lankan Rupee is on the second line of betting at $6 ahead of emerging sprinter Ability and the resuming Keen Array at $8, while former West Australian Chocolate Holic is at $9.

“It’s a very strong race and a few others are going very well,” Mertens said.

“But he’s got the ability so hopefully he can do something for me.”

Supido has won seven of his 13 starts.

The Monash was Supido’s first stakes victory although he had been placed at both Group One and Group Two level.

Mertens has been involved in a battle for this season’s Melbourne jockeys’ premiership in recent months but Craig Williams has wrested the lead from him in the past couple of meetings as the champion jockey pushes towards a sixth premiership.

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