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Melbourne metro debut for UK apprentice

The latest UK-based apprentice to travel to Victoria for a summer riding stint will hit the city arena in Melbourne for the first time when he rides at Sandown.

English apprentice Patrick ‘Paddy’ Pilley started a three-month loan with Flemington trainer Nigel Blackiston a couple of weeks ago and has already registered a winner at Geelong aboard Surge Ahead for trainer Vincent Malady.

The 19-year-old will ride the Blackiston-trained Sonsee Array and Amortise on Wednesday.

Pilley rode both horses in their most recent starts while on Sunday he was aboard the Blackiston-trained Amarela who finished fourth in the Listed Kilmore Cup.

The trainer said he could not have asked for more from that ride.

“He’s ridden a winner, a couple of placings and if you watch his ride in the Kilmore Cup on my mare, it was a fantastic run,” Blackiston said.

“From the outside barrier, to get home and run fourth it was a beautiful ride.

“He’s a very good horseman, typical of those European styles the way he’s been taught.

“He’s a very capable young man and claims two kilos in the country and in the metropolitan area.”

Oisin Murphy had a successful summer stint in Melbourne with trainer Danny O’Brien in 2013/14.

Murphy, now the retained rider in Britain for Qatar Racing, rode a feature race winner for Blackiston during that time aboard Outback Joe in the Bagot Handicap on New Year’s day.

Blackiston said a recommendation from Murphy led to Pilley’s stint with his stable.

Kieran Shoemark is another who has had summer stints in Melbourne, while last summer Tom Marquand made his mark when he spent a few weeks with the Lindsay Park team.

Pilley had his first Australian ride on six-year-old Amortise who finished sixth in a benchmark 64 (1400m) at Bendigo on November 9 at his first start for 12 months.

Amortise steps to 1800m in the Polytrack Handicap while three-year-old filly Sonsee Array chases a maiden win in the Moorookyle Park Stud Plate (1800m) after making ground when fourth in a 1600m maiden at Moe last start.

Blackiston also has Itchikoo Park in that race.

“I thought it was a nice run from Amortise first-up and he can take good benefit from that but he will improve more with another run under his belt,” Blackiston said.

“Sonsee Array, I thought her run was excellent the other day on an unsuitable sort of track at Moe. She got around the turns and finished off strongly.

“I think the extra distance will suit her down to the ground.”

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