Having finished a luckless third in 2017 and an agonisingly close second 12 months later, jockey Ben Melham is warming to his chances of winning the Caulfield Cup for the first time on Saturday.
Melham was third on Johannes Vermeer before going down in a photo finish to Best Solution aboard Homesman in 2018.
He has pinned his hopes in Saturday's $5 million handicap on import Mirage Dancer, with the well-performed former Sir Michael Stoute-trained horse to run for new trainers Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young for the first time.
Mirage Dancer has drawn barrier 13 in a capacity field of 18, plus four emergencies, but will jump from gate nine if the reserves do not gain a start and Melham has been impressed after riding the horse in trackwork a couple of times.
"The Caulfield Cup has been a race that has eluded me the last couple of years running third and then second, so I'm certainly looking to go one better," said Melham, who grew up and began his career as a jockey in Ballarat
"He's the right horse. He's a genuine winning chance and it will come down to luck in running.
"I'm happy enough with his draw. He's got a bit of speed. I haven't assessed the race properly yet but the draw didn't really phaze me too much.
"He's a pretty straight-forward horse.
"If he runs to his work he will be hard to beat," Melham said.