Jockey Teo Nugent (Image: Racing Photos)
Last season's champion Victorian apprentice Teo Nugent is about to take another big step in his career when he takes his first ride of the Melbourne Cup Carnival on Saturday.
It might not be in a feature race, but it isn't just any old ride as Nugent's Flemington Carnival debut will be in the royal blue colours of the world's leading stable, Godolphin.
"It's really exciting," Nugent said on Friday morning. "It's great to get one for such a big team - the biggest worldwide in racing for my first ride over the carnival."
Nugent has been booked to ride five-year-old gelding Esperance in Saturday's Seppelt Handicap down the straight 1100-metre course, which will be the final race of the four-day Carnival.
Nugent's two-kilogram claim brings Esperance's weight to 60.5kg - which is still 7.5kg more than the limit weight horse Screenager, who is also a Godolphin horse and who is to be ridden by renowned Group 1 jockey Kerrin McEvoy.
The 21-year-old, who has 132 career wins to his name, said he had been offered a ride by the Godolphin outfit a few months ago but had to refuse it.
"I was going to ride a horse for Godolphin in the Rising Stars Series at Flemington a few months ago but I couldn't ride it as I had to ride Dr Drill for the boss (Ciaron Maher) in Sydney," he said.
"Lucky it won but I've been looking forward to getting another chance (with Godolphin) so I'm very excited about Saturday."
Last season, no apprentice rode more winners in Victoria than Nugent, whose 86 winners saw him placed ninth on the overall list. His 16 wins in Melbourne had him placed 18th overall and second in the apprentice's race behind Michael Poy (32 wins).
Nugent said he was working hard to ensure he continued his steady stream of winners.
"I am having a good run so far," he said.
"The people around me play a big part. Ciaron and Dave (Eustace) and my manager Ash Beer does a great job so I just hope it can continue."