Group 1-winning jockey Vlad Duric is set to make his return to the saddle on Thursday night in the final event on Pakenham’s eight-race card.
Duric is set to partner the Wendy Kelly-trained Jesta Dreama in a Benchmark 64 over 1600m to round out Thursday’s card in what will be his first ride in Australia since taking the steer on Excess Knowledge in the 2016 Melbourne Cup.
The 44-year-old has been based in Singapore since May 2016 and joins several jockeys and trainers to return from Asia since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fellow Australian jockeys Patrick Moloney and Michael Rodd have returned to Australia, whilst trainers Lee Freedman and Cliff Brown have also come back to these shores.
The Caulfield Cup-winning Duric returns to the saddle for the first time since partnering In All His Glory in Singapore on August 22, 2021, and will be looking to break back into the Victorian jockey ranks.
Having ridden 617 winners spread across two stints in Singapore, Duric had been the dominant rider in the region and was crowned the champion jockey on four separate occasions.
Duric had taken a break from the saddle due to ongoing kidney issues and in October made the decision to bring his family back to Melbourne.
With the Melbourne Autumn Carnival underway, it is unknown whether Duric will look to take on a full book of rides at any Group 1 meetings, but trainers such as Peter Moody have long been a fan of the veteran hoop and no doubt will be making enquiries.
Duric’s first race back in the saddle is set to jump at 9:15pm AEDT on Thursday, February 24.