Brenton Avdulla is eyeing his first Melbourne Group One victory in the Lightning Stakes in what could be a big couple of weeks for the jockey.
Avdulla, who hails from Melbourne, partners one of the leading Lightning Stakes chances, Snitzerland, on Saturday at Flemington as he looks to add to the three Group Ones he has won in Sydney where he has been based in recent years.
Snitzerland has been close to Group One success before and showed she was on target for the Lightning (1000m) with a sizzling barrier trial win at Rosehill last week.
The Gerald Ryan-trained Snitzerland is just being shaded for favouritism in the Lightning by class mare Samaready, while the following Saturday Avdulla is also set to partner unbeaten boom colt Rubick in the $1 million Blue Diamond.
"Gerald has been a good supporter of mine and I've got two horses at the moment in Rubick and her (Snitzerland) that have taken me down to Melbourne," Avdulla said.
"I've got three Group Ones in Sydney but it would be nice to get one where you started from, and hopefully in the near future I'll be able to do that."
Snitzerland was given a solid hit-out at Rosehill in a 900m trial on Tuesday last week, running fast time in spacing her rivals.
And after partnering the mare in trackwork earlier in the week, Avdulla says Snitzerland has come on again and is ready to run a big race first-up.
"The stable feels we're going to the races on Saturday with a horse that's probably going as good as she ever has," Avdulla said.
A five-time Group winner, Snitzerland is yet to break through at Group One level having finished runner-up in the 2012 Golden Slipper to Pierro and in last year's Galaxy behind Bel Sprinter.
The mare has three wins from five first-up including a track-record breaking Challenge Stakes win over 1000m at Warwick Farm last year.
A field of 13 has been declared for the Lightning, including a pair of two-year-olds in Bugatty and Boomwaa.
The last two-year-old to run in the Lightning was Clever Zoe who finished runner-up to Schillaci in 1993.
Bugatty's co-trainer Wayne Hawkes said he was planning to run Bugatty.
"But if he wasn't 100 per cent, we don't want to be running for the hell of it," Hawkes said.