BRENTON Avdulla believes history can repeat when he rides Gem Song in the group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600) at Randwick on Saturday.
Avdulla had his first race ride on the Gooree Stud four-year-old last Saturday at Rosehill when second as favourite in the group 2 Shannon Stakes (1500m), 1.3 lengths behind Mister Sea Wolf. He was a fast-finishing third first-up in the group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) two weeks earlier.
Gem Song's impost drops from 56.5 kilograms to 52kg for the $1 million handicap on Saturday and he drew well in five on Tuesday.
Avdulla had no concerns about Gem Song, an $11 chance with TAB, bouncing back in the Epsom for premier Newcastle trainer Kris Lees.
"It was disappointing if you're a punter, obviously a favourite getting beat, but he's a horse who performs on the back-up and it was always sort of the plan to get him here on the back-up after his good first-up run," Avdulla told Sky Racing at the Epsom and Metropolitan barrier draw on Tuesday.
"I've won an Epsom before on a similar sort of thing a number of years ago, on a horse called Secret Admirer [in 2011], who was a beaten favourite in the race. She ran fourth and she backed up and won the Epsom, so I'm not too worried.
"He's drawn well so I'm sure he'll be cherry-ripe on Saturday."
Avdulla, who has to drop another three kilograms to ride Gem Song in the Epsom, was hoping for a run with cover on Saturday.
"I was sort of forced to put him outside the lead the other day, and albeit we didn't go hard, it just doesn't suit him, so a full field on Saturday, ridden comfortable, I'm sure he'll race well," he said.
"I expect him to run top five. I'm riding him at 52, which is not easy, so I expect him to run well."
Lees also has El Dorado Dreaming in the race. She drew gate one and has Rachel King to ride at 50kg.
The four-year-old mare was six-lengths seventh in the Theo Marks first-up and was a $26 chance in the Epsom.
Lees also has two runners in the group 1 Metropolitan. Attention Run (Andrew Gibbons) was $21 from gate 11 and Big Duke (Jason Collett) was $16 from 10.
AAP reports: Cascadian continued to garner support for the Epsom Handicap.
Although he has finished fifth and fourth in his two Australian starts, Cascadian was $9 from $15 on Tuesday for Saturday's 1600m-feature at Randwick. He had no luck when fourth behind $6 Epsom equal favourite Kolding in the Bill Ritchie Handicap.
Trained by James Cummings, Cascadian has 50kg in the Epsom. Godolphin Australia boss Vin Cox said the team had confidence in Sydney's champion apprentice Robbie Dolan to get the job done from barrier two.
"We are just hoping for a clear passage," Cox said.
Dolan is not fazed by the responsibility although he has had limited rides at the highest level.
"I did come third in the Galaxy [on Easy Eddie]," Dolan said.
"Cascadian is a good horse and gets in with a good weight."
Dolan rides second favourite Scarlet Dream for his boss Mark Newnham in Saturday's Group One Metropolitan Handicap (2400m).
Cummings will also saddle up Best Of Days, the winner of the Kennedy Mile last spring and a $17 chance.
New Zealander Te Akau Shark and the John Thompson-trained Dreamforce are the other equal favourites despite drawing barriers 16 and 20 respectively.
Thompson is not too concerned by barriers for Dreamforce, runner-up in the Doncaster Mile in autumn and second at his two spring starts.
He has top weight of 57kg in the Epsom.
"He is the sort of horse who goes forward and is most consistent," he said.
"He is going as well as he ever has and the plan has been for him to peak at the third start of his campaign."
At $7, the Hawkes Racing-trained Rock, winner of the Cameron Handicap at Newcastle, is the only other runner in single figures after Tuesday's barrier draw.
He will start from gate 12 with Kerrin McEvoy to ride at 50.5kg.