Blaike Mcdougall sets sights on first Group 1 win

Blaike Mcdougall is no stranger to riding winners, having banked 196 of them last season alone, but Saturday’s Caulfield program could provide one the likes of which he’s never experienced.

The 27-year-old has his chance yet to land a maiden Group 1 win when he partners Lightsaber in the $750,000 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.

The Peter Moody-trained three-year-old is part of a stellar book that also includes a Group 2 ride and a couple of Group 3 engagements for some of the country’s most powerful stables.

Opportunities such as Saturday are something McDougall has been working towards after a lull following an unforgettable Spring, which included Group 2 success, a Melbourne Cup Day double and his first ride in the great race, aboard Carif.

“A day like Saturday has been in the making the last few months,” McDougall said.

“I had an above-average carnival for myself last spring and then I’ve been pretty quiet in between and it’s great to start the new carnival with a strong book of rides.

“I probably won’t sleep Friday night.”

Chief culprit behind the likely insomnia is Lightsaber, who McDougall was called upon for after Luke Nolen was unable to make his 55.5kg in the weight-for-age event.

“He’s drawn the perfect gate (five) in what looks a very winnable Group 1,” McDougall said.

“I gave him him his first jumpout this prep and it’s pretty hard to get Luke off him, but I galloped him on Tuesday morning and it was very pleasing work.

“I’ve got a lot to look forward to.”

Lightsaber heads in to the Orr Stakes second up, having finished fourth in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) on January 29 at his first run since finishing fourth in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m).

The Zoustar colt has been one of the better-backed runners outside $4.20 favourite Sinawann in TAB’s market, in to $10 after opening at $13.

McDougall’s other Caulfield rides are Lightsaber’s stablemate Lucky Decision ($7) in the G2 Autumn Stakes, Forzanini ($16) for Peter and Paul Snowden in the G3 Kevin Hayes Stakes and Tom Dabernig’s Flying Mascot ($5.50) in the G3 Geoffrey Bellmaine Stakes that rounds out the card.

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