In-form Newcastle jockey Aaron Bullock is hoping I Am Capitan can give him a city win on Saturday at Randwick to put the exclamation mark on an impressive return to the saddle.
Bullock went to 14 wins for the new season and the NSW premiership lead with a treble at Taree at Friday, which followed two victories on Thursday at Newcastle.
The strong start to 2019-20 follows on from a seamless return to race riding in late May after a six-month suspension. Despite the time out, Bullock had 34 winners from just 140 rides in the season to finish with a stunning strike-rate of 24.3 per cent.
"I couldn't complain about the return, that's for sure," Bullock said.
"I've just got a new manager, Bruce Smith, who took over from the 1st of August and he's doing a great job.
"He's probably taken me to the next level a little bit. Obviously everyone who is supporting me is training winners, so it's been good."
Bullock rode Ambitious Prince, Rambler Rebel and Sir Leo to wins at Taree in a race-to-race hat-trick on Friday and he was set to return to the track with a strong book of chances on Sunday.
First, the Singleton product was striving to pick up a city win on the Dean Mirfin-trained I Am Capitan in the Highway Handicap on Saturday, which opens the program on the Kensington track.
Bullock also has the ride on long-shot Malahat for Singleton trainer Aleacia Bennett in the last.
I Am Capitan, a $4.80 chance with TAB Fixed Odds on Friday, was his best chance to score a rare city victory. The seven-year-old gelding was one-and-a-half lengths fourth two weeks ago in a Highway Handicap and second in another to start his preparation.
"He's only got to produce his last-start run, and we have a bit of luck from the barriers, and he'll be in the finish," Bullock said.
"I'm expecting a big run from him."
Malahat, a former Godolphin horse, will have his second start for Bennett after an eighth in the July Sprint at Rosehill.
"He was beaten four lengths by Bon Amis, which was well into his preparation and at his top, and Malahat was first-up, so he's only going to improve," Bullock said.
"I've won a trial on him and the horse goes good. From the soft draw, he's going to have to do no work, but he's not in as good a calculations as the first fella."
Muswellbrook apprentice Sammie Clenton had a winning double at Taree on Friday with Mummentum and Fanciful Dream for Newcastle trainer Kris Lees and Paul Perry respectively.
While Bullock has missed out on a ride in Sunday's $100,000 Taree Gold Cup (2000m), his boss Lees will chase his third win in the race since 2014.
Mongolian Wolf, Milseain and Our Gravano will represent the stable.
Meanwhile, Lees is considering a first-up run in the group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m) at Randwick on September 7 for Everest hopeful Graff. However, Lees said In Her Time, which has the Inglis Everest slot, will not contest the Concorde.