Friday, 20 July 2012
Only one jockey has a better strike-rate in Melbourne this season than Michael Rodd, but not many have a worse record in the past four months.
Rodd hasn't won a metropolitan race in his home town since mid-March, mainly because he has been busy elsewhere.
But he's more than optimistic of getting back among the winners at Flemington on Saturday where his strong book of rides is headed by the Mark Kavanagh-trained Instalment in the Bob Skilton Handicap (1100m).
Instalment was Rodd's last Melbourne winner, the pair having saluted over Saturday's course and distance on March 10.
Since then Rodd has been out of town where his successes included two Group One winners.
He believes Instalment can give him his 30th Melbourne winner for the season.
"He's ready to go, he's won up the straight before and he's drawn perfectly, so he'll get a nice run just off the speed," Rodd said.
"There look to be a few runners there that'll take up the lead and I'll be able to suck up behind them.
"He likes to have one last crack at them and if he can do that I expect him to run really well."
Rodd has a strike-rate of almost 16 per cent, just behind Luke Nolen, but he is favoured ahead of the reigning premier rider in jockey challenge betting at Flemington.
Much of that confidence is reflected in backing for Instalment who has firmed from $7.50 to $2.30 since acceptance time, earning him favouritism in the absence of early scratching African Pulse.
The gelding is one of six handy rides at Flemington for Rodd who also partners $4.40 second favourite Andromache in the Sporting Chance Cancer Foundation Handicap (1400m).
His next best chance appears to be Rollerball in the Commotion Creative Handicap (1800m) which is one of two rides he has for the in-form Robert Smerdon
stable, the other being Beyond Pardon in the Monjon Australia Handicap (1000m).