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Stockdale keeps faith in King Magnus

Having recently graduated from apprentice ranks, Thomas Stockdale landed his first winner as a senior at Sandown during the week. He now has his eyes on a bigger prize when he partners King Magnus in the Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday. 

As an apprentice, Stockdale was able to secure a Group 3 win in South Australia, but says a stakes win on Saturday would clearly top that. 

"It would be nice to add a Group 3 to the list and it would be my biggest win to date," Stockdale said. "I snagged a Group 3 win as an apprentice in Adelaide, so a Group 3 in Melbourne won't go astray." 

King Magnus is looking for career win No. 10 in Saturday's Kevin Heffernan Stakes; picture Racing Photos

Stockdale has ridden King Magnus in his last five starts. 

The then apprentice's 1.5kg claim was used to effect with successive Flemington wins during the winter and despite being a non-claiming race, the Robbie Griffiths and Mathew de Kock stable elected to keep Stockdale aboard in the Listed Winter Championship Final in July. 

Stockdale had one of his first rides as a senior on King Magnus on the opening day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, finishing eighth in the Group 2 Damien Oliver (1400m). 

That race was seen as an ideal pipe-opener for the Listed Cranbourne Cup (1600m) last Saturday, but a bruised heel forced the gelding to miss that race. Instead, the Listed Kilmore Cup (1600m) the following day was chosen, but that meeting was abandoned after three races with concerns about the track. 

Stockdale said he was as frustrated as Griffiths and de Kock. 

"The Kilmore Cup was going to be ideal for him after the race fell away," Stockdale said. "He got his soft track, the race mapped for him to be a little bit closer and get a cosier run than what he had done in his previous starts. 

"It has been frustrating. He hasn't had a whole lot go right and while he was primed for the Kilmore Cup, I'm sure the team have kept in top order for Saturday." 

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