HIGH-profile owner Terry Henderson has rewarded Koroit-based jockey Declan Bates with a ride in the $5 million group one Caulfield Cup on Saturday.
Bates rides the Irish-bred stayer True Self for Henderson and his group of owners under the OTI banner.
Henderson told The Standard Bates deserved the ride on the Willie Mullins-trained True Self, who won the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Flemington last year.
"I've watched Declan's career very closely since he moved to Warrnambool from Ireland back in 2015," he said.
"Declan conducts himself in a very professional manner. He's a talented young horseman who deserved the chance to have a ride in the Caulfield Cup.
"Declan has done a fair bit of riding for us over the years with a lot of success.
"He's a very hard-working jockey.
"It would be a wonderful boost to Declan's career if he could win the cup on True Self."
Bates said he was delighted to be given the opportunity.
"I'm really thankful to Terry and the other OTI owners for giving me the ride," the group one-winning jockey said.
"It's a great thrill to have a ride in the cup. It's one of the iconic races in Australia.
"We've drawn a nice barrier. She should be well placed in the run from that gate."
Bookmakers rate True Self a $31 chance in early betting markets to taste victory in the Caulfield Cup.
Bates also rides Begood Toya Mother for Warrnambool trainer Daniel Bowman and the Archie Alexander-trained No Restriction on the 10-race Caulfield program.
The 32-year-old hoop rode Begood Toya Mother to win the group one Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield last year.
Warrnambool trainer Maddie Raymond saddles up Pacodali in the $200,000 group three Moonga Stakes.