Thomas Stockdale will be reunited with Sandown winner Maracaibo (r) in the Listed Pakenham Cup.
With just two metropolitan wins to his name, apprentice Thomas Stockdale is hoping to make the most of a prized opportunity to notch a stakes race success in the Pakenham Cup.
Stockdale rides the Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young-trained Maracaibo in the $300,000 Listed race over 2500 metres on Saturday.
Maracaibo gave Stockdale his maiden city winner at Sandown on November 20 and the apprentice doubled that tally at Sandown on Wednesday aboard Merited for trainers Mick Price and Mick Kent jr.
Stockdale has delayed starting a careless riding suspension until the completion of Saturday’s meeting to enable him to renew his association with Maracaibo.
“She did give me my first city winner so I was hoping that I could keep the ride and lucky enough, I have,” Stockdale said.
“It’s my first Listed race ride and I’ve been living at Pakenham for the last three years and I kind of call Pakenham home now.
“I’ve ridden most of my trackwork there. I know the track inside out and I’ve got a good feel for the horse.
“I’m quite keen going into Saturday and can’t wait to get there.”
While he is based at Pakenham, Stockdale travels to Cranbourne twice a week to help out the Busuttin/Young stable.
He rides jump-outs for the training partners on Mondays and trackwork on Tuesday mornings.
Stockdale was not asked to work Maracaibo on Tuesday, instead partnering the stable’s other Pakenham Cup contender, Savvy Oak.
But Stockdale got a good look at his Pakenham Cup ride, who was his galloping partner in the work-out.
“She worked really soundly with Savvy Oak,” Stockdale said.
“We know Savvy Oak goes well and Maracaibo has shown she goes well in the past, so hopefully she can match it there on Saturday.”
Stockdale has been an apprentice for almost three years but injuries have interrupted his momentum, restricting him to just 14 months of race riding.
He is thrilled to get an opportunity in a feature race on Saturday and hopes to repay the connections’ faith.
“It’s a bit of a dream come true,” Stockdale said.
“I never thought I’d be riding in a Listed race so early in my career so to be given the opportunities from Trent and Nat like this is fantastic.”