Michael Walker isn't afraid of hard work if it will secure him Group One success. Walker put his body through some pain last week to ride So Si Bon at 52.5kg in the Newmarket Handicap at Flemington on Saturday.
While So Si Bon wasn't successful, the dedication paid dividends two races later when he rode Harlem to victory in the Group One Australian Cup.
It was Walker's second Group One win of the season after the Caulfield Guineas last spring on Mighty Boss.
Both were long shot winners with Mighty Boss at $101 and Harlem at $61, but that matters little to Walker who at 33 says he's riding better than ever.
A debilitating back injury followed by hip surgery robbed Walker of crucial time last year, but he is hoping his form this season paves the way to rides on horses the market think have better chances.
"In Melbourne I believe we have the best jockeys in Australasia so its hard to get those good rides," Walker said.
"Any trainer can throw their colours in the room and be happy knowing that whoever picks them up is a good rider.
"That makes it hard, but this season I've had two Group Ones and most seasons I ride a Group One winner, so hopefully something snowballs from it."
With one Group One race remaining in Melbourne this season Walker is already looking towards the Sydney carnival.
He heads to Rosehill on Saturday to ride Comin' Through in the Ajax Stakes and Mighty Boss in the Phar Lap Stakes.
Walker has ridden Comin' Through to three of his four wins.
"Hopefully I can win on him and then he can get into The Doncaster," Walker said.
He has also picked up the ride on New Zealand filly, Danzdanzdance, who shares the top line of betting with Luvaluva at $8 for the ATC Australian Oaks at Randwick on April 14.
"She ran third in the New Zealand Derby last week and I'm riding her in the Vinery and the Oaks," Walker said.
"She's already the early favourite for the Oaks, so fingers crossed, she looks a great chance."