Craig Williams and Vow And Declare winning the 2019 Melbourne Cup (Image: Racing Photos)
Jockey Craig Williams will be reunited with Vow And Declare in Saturday's Group 1 TAB Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington.
The pair pulled off a triumphant victory in last year's Melbourne Cup and Williams believes he's ready for the next stage of his career.
"He has to come on now and compete at weight-for-age and obviously his rating has gone through the roof compared to when he won the Melbourne Cup, but he has gone to another level," Williams said.
WATCH: Vow And Declare's Lexus Melbourne Cup win
Riding all his work leading into this first-up assignment, Williams believes Tuesday morning's gallop was his best yet.
"This morning is the first-time that he's had the ear muffs applied this preparation and he also led up the gallop, which is two things that he doesn't normally usually do well, and he ended up working extremely well," he said.
"He's really come on from the spring so it's exciting to see his transition now into weight-for-age racing over 10 furlongs.
"True to his ability and his lung capacity, he doesn't blow after he works out, it's quite amazing."
Vow And Declare has never won first-up before, but Williams believes he can certainly change that statistic on Saturday.
"He's basically been untapped, he won the Melbourne Cup third-up, so it was a great performance by the horse, I couldn't be happier with the way that he's come back, he's going to give the race a big shake," he said.
While happy about Vow And Declare, Williams' smile when asked how Loving Gaby worked at Sandown on Tuesday morning was worth a thousand words.
"I worked her two weeks ago and I said she was flying, this morning she's airborne," he grinned ahead of Saturday's Newmarket Handicap (1200m).
"The tactics were right (in the G1 Black Caviar Lightning), but as it turned out, the horse that we followed (Nature Strip) ended up not being the horse to take us into the race.
"She won her race on our side, I was really impressed with her performance and she's really come on with the work since that run."
WATCH: Loving Gaby's Lightning run