Hard-working apprentice Ryan Hill rates the vastly improved Philby as his best of three rides to notch a key milestone in his career at today's low-key Ascot meeting.
The 21 year-old Englishman has so far amassed 620 rides for 48 wins this season in WA and is a win shy of having his allowance reduced from 3kg to 2kg in the metropolitan area.
Hill, who hopes to have his permanent residency within the next year, also has represented WA interstate in the National Apprentices' series.
Hill has a perfect record on Philby, who is chasing his fourth straight Ascot win in the St. Bart's Cup (1600m), having kicked off the winning streak on March 5. Philby is a half-brother to the multiple winning Vizard.
Player yesterday had Philby a $2 favourite to stretch his winning sequence for trainer George Daly, who booked Hill to use his claim to reduce the gelding's weight to 55kg.
"Paul (Harvey) told me before I rode him to ride him nice and quiet and he will give to you at the finish," Hill said.
"He is relaxing well now that he has a few runs under him.
"Mr Daly has always maintained he could be more than a midweek horse and he would run out a strong 1600m.
"To lose my three-kilo claim would mean I would be allowed to ride in Listed and Group races."
Hill also hopes to provide another loyal trainer, Vernon Brockman, with a fourth consecutive victory with smart provincial winner Iconoclast in the Westspeed Handicap (1400m).
While Iconoclast steps up to city grade for the first time, at his last-start Pinjarra win he beat Media Alert and Ima Flirt on April 3.
That form was franked when the pair finished one-two in a 1600m handicap at Ascot last Wednesday.
"Vernon has done a good job to place this horse," Hill said.
"His form is pretty good when you look at what those two horses did at Ascot on Wednesday. Each time Vernon has popped him the question he has risen to answer it. This is another question for him."
Hill's final ride is Megem's Boy, who faces his last-start nemesis I Won't Dance and comeback sprinters Recode and Bizet in the Steel Blue Handicap (1000m)."A few of them have pretty good trial form, but my horse does have race fitness on his side," he said.
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