Grafton trainer David Campbell is hoping comeback apprentice Isabella Rabjones's 3kg allowance can give his in-form galloper Melted Moments a winning edge when the eight-year-old chases his 15th career win at Murwillumbah on Monday.
Melted Moments was allotted the topweight of 62kg in Monday's Murwillumbah Services Open Hcp (1530m) but carries 59kg after the claim. Gold Coast galloper Desmon's Pride, who looks his obvious main threat, will carry 61kg for senior rider Matt Paget.
Melted Moments has been racing in the best form of his career this season, winning five of his past nine starts including the $65,000 Ballina Cup (1600m) on January 17.
He posted the 14th win of his career over 1400m at Casino two starts back on February 28 before his latest brave effort at Taree on March 13 when he hit the line strongly for third behind Casino Mondial and Time Raid in an Open Hcp over 1600m after travelling wide throughout with 60.5kg.
"He just continues to race well wherever he runs and I thought it was a terrific effort at Taree last time as he was four-deep the entire race," said Campbell.
Melted Moments joined Campbell's stable in the middle of last year after the gelding's previous trainer Paul Grills was disqualified for 12 months.
The change of scenery from Guyra, just north of Armidale, to Grafton seems to have worked wonders.
"He seems to have thrived in the different scenery up here. I swim him regularly in the Clarence River and don't do a lot with him. He's a very happy horse and pulls up well after every run,'' he said.
Melted Moments runs third at Taree on March 13
"He's just an old marvel - I wish I had a stable full of horses like him."
Melted Moments has raced at 18 different racetracks during his 76-start career - winning races at seven of them - but he makes his first visit to Murwillumbah on Monday.
"Murwillumbah is a lot like Casino where he won two starts back - both tracks have an uphill rise to the corner," said Campbell.
Campbell booked Brisbane-based Rabjones for the ride after watching her in action at Lismore recently. Apprenticed to Eagle Farm trainer Chris Munce, Rabjones only resumed her apprenticeship in January after taking a four-year break from racing.
She was based at Deagon back in 2015 and rode six winners in the first six months of her apprenticeship.
She has ridden six winners since she returned to riding on January 11, including a double at Lismore on March 7.
"I watched Isabella ride at Lismore the other week - she rode two winners and finished second from her four rides that day," said Campbell.
"Horses obviously go well for her and I'm happy to use her 3kg claim. The handicapper catches up with horses with form like Melted Moments, so you have to try and level things out a bit with a claiming apprentice. Apprentices have ridden him many times in the past - there are no tricks to him.
"From his gate (barrier seven) on Monday, our plan would be to go forward."
The Les Kelly-trained Desmon's Pride looms as the obvious threat to Melted Moments at Murwillumbah. He was impressive at his only previous Murwillumbah appearance last month over the same 1530m trip when he upset the $1.45 favourite Tivoli Street.
Rabjones has two other rides on Monday's seven-race meeting - Christmas Creek (race seven) for the the Munce stable, and last-start Lismore winner Bella Boss (race four) for Lismore trainer Sharon Pepper.