September Run (Image: Racing Photos)
The Newmarket Handicap is one of just a handful of feature races that has eluded Craig Williams, but the champion jockey thinks he might have found the right horse to break that run on Saturday week when he partners the Chris Waller-trained filly September Run.
Williams finished second in 2020 aboard Loving Gaby, having done likewise two years earlier when Brave Smash came close to stealing victory from Redkirk Warrior.
September Run, the Coolmore Stud Stakes winner of last spring, caught the eye of many when resuming to finish second behind stablemate Nature Strip in the Black Caviar Lightning and as such is the overwhelming $2.50 favourite for the 1200-metre classic with Sportsbet.
"She drops in weight for her run the other day in weight-for-age and she was awesome in defeat," Williams said at the Victoria Racing Club's Autumn Carnival launch on Tuesday.
"She is such a weapon down the straight and the way she has come back you either hope they hold their form or hopefully improve but she has definitely improved and I am really excited about her.
"She has trained on really well."
September Run has won on three occasions down the Flemington straight and Williams said he expects the daughter of Exceed And Excel to carry 51.5 kilograms.
WATCH: September Run in the Lightning
Williams has also picked up the ride aboard Autumn Stakes winner Poland heading into Saturday's $1 million G1 Kennedy Australian Guineas (1600m). Jordan Childs had ridden the Michael Moroney-trained colt in all five starts but has been sidelined with a shoulder injury.
"I'm really comfortable to be on Poland," Williams explained.
"I partnered him in a piece of work this morning and he gave me a really good feel.
"His trainer Michael Moroney is really excited about the horse and I can see why."
The son of So You Think will stretch out to 1600 metres second-up, after finishing 11th in the Caulfield Guineas last spring in his only other attempt at the mile.
"This race does come up a little quick for some horses so most horses can be second-up in this race and at most third-up," said Williams.
"It was part of Mike's plan from his first-up win to come to the Guineas and he looks to be really well placed and seems to fit his profile well.
"The way he worked this morning he is really ready for Saturday."
Williams was also at Caulfield on Tuesday to partner the Colin Little-trained Vassilator, who is his mount in the $200,000 G2 Darley Blamey Stakes (1600m).
"I trialed him this morning at Caulfield and he is carrying a lot of condition, but he seems to be so happy and well," emphasised Williams.
"His form at Flemington is exceptional and I am really looking forward to the race."
Wiliams, who missed the ride on Behemoth in last Saturday's Futurity Stakes through suspension, will regain the ride on the dual G1 winner for the March 13 All-Star Mile at The Valley.
WATCH: Vassilator's Caulfield jumpout (orange, black cap)