HUNTER jockey Aaron Bullock hopes to continue riding Gunnedah Cup winner Akasawa and swap an annual Muswellbrook meeting for the Big Dance at Randwick on the first Tuesday in November.
Despite carrying 63.5 kilograms, Bullock piloted the $1.80 favourite to a dominant victory over the mile on Sunday to qualify for the $3 million race on Melbourne Cup day.
Bullock first teamed up with Paul Messara-trained Awasaka in Upper Hunter trials in 2020 and has since tasted success on five occasions, featuring the most recent three in the space of four months.
They saluted together at the Country Championships qualifier (1400 metres) in Tamworth in February, followed by a benchmark 78 (1700m) Scone on May 13 and now the Gunnedah Cup (1600m).
"He's just up to that right distance now. Paul just kept him in those short ones for the Country Championships qualifier, which he won," Bullock told Sky Racing on Sunday.
"It was a shame in the final we hit a heavy 22 ... we got 15mm [of rain] on the morning of the race and we just put a pencil through that.
"His runs since then have been phenomenal, he's a lovely horse and I've just got to thank Paul for keeping me on.
"Hopefully he keeps me for the big one, which I say he will. I'll have to change my plans and not ride at Muswellbrook, I'd rather go to Randwick on Melbourne Cup day."
Bullock clocked two wins earlier at Gunnedah on Sunday courtesy of Aimpoint and Shen Gui. Scone's Messara took out the TAB Highway Handicap (1400m) with Demitasse at Randwick on Saturday.
Up at Eagle Farm on Saturday and Newcastle trainer Kris Lees scored back-to-back group 3 placings with Luncies second in the Lord Mayor's Cup (1800m) after Kalapour finished third in the Premier's Cup (2400m).
Newcastle is scheduled to host an eight-race meeting on Tuesday.