Jockey Vlad Duric, back from suspension and an injury scare, is hoping to pull off an upset aboard Adelaide galloper Stella Lante in Wednesday's Group 1 $500,000 Thousand Guineas for three-year-old fillies at Caulfield.
Duric suffered a fall during barrier trials at Cranbourne and injured his knee during his enforced lay-off but is ready to return to the scene of his greatest triumph - when he won the 2007 Caulfield Cup aboard Master O'Reilly - at The Heath on Wednesday.
This year's Thousand Guineas is shaping as one of the most open editions of the prestigious race in years with another Adelaide filly in Molto Bene currently the $5.50 favourite with 11 of the 16 runners priced at $17 or less at TAB Sportsbet.
And one of those is Stella Lane, who is trained at Morphettville by John Hyam, and has drawn perfectly in barrier two for Wednesday's feature race.
Stella Lante has a win and four placings from her six starts with her only unplaced run being last time out when she ran eighth of 10 over 1400 metres behind Balaclava Lady at Caulfield on September 30.
But prior to that run her form had been superb, including a second to another of the leading contenders for the Thousand Guineas in the Greg Eurell-trained Love For Ransom at Moonee Valley in mid-September.
Duric told Melbourne radio station RSN on Monday that Stella Lante would be ideally suited by the 1600-metre trip of the Thousand Guineas.
"Her run behind Love For Ransom at Moonee Valley was fantastic," Duric said.
"She will relish the step up to the mile on Wednesday and the addition of winkers will help her as well because she is still a bit immature."But Duric said no matter how Stella Lante performed on Wednesday, she would only improve adding punters would probably see the best of the Starcraft filly in the autumn.