Jockey Damien Oliver bullish about Happy Trails’ Cox Plate bid
After an unsuccessful 2014 Caulfield Cup, champion jockey Damien Oliver is confident of turning his fortunes around in Saturday’s Cox Plate.
Oliver could only manage an eighth-place finish on the back of Hawkspur last weekend but he is hopeful of a better showing aboard Happy Trails in a few days’ time.
“I’ve got a nice chance this week, I’m looking forward to riding Happy Trails,” Oliver told Triple M on Thursday morning.
“It’s a really open race this year, I think and there’s a chance for many horses there.”
Much of the hype in the lead-up to the weight-for-age classic has surrounded Irish raider Adelaide who is one of the favourites.
And while Oliver conceded the Aidan O’Brien-trained colt was an impressive horse, he believed Adelaide had many obstacles to overcome to be victorious.
“It’s going to be difficult for a horse coming all the way from Ireland and coming to a track like Moonee Valley because, as we know, it’s a quirky track,” Oliver said.
“It’s very different to the big, open tracks in the UK and he’s not going to find it easy.”
Oliver, a two-time winner of the Cox Plate, said it was one of his favourite race days of the year.
“You walk around in the mounting yard out the back behind the [Moonee Valley] grandstand, you come through a tunnel and you feel like a bit of a gladiator, actually … it’s a real amphitheatre,” he said.
“The crowd and the grandstand virtually hangs over the track, the start is right in front of the grandstand there. It’s an awesome atmosphere and they say it’s the best two minutes in sport, so it is one of the greatest race days.
“There’s a full field of 14 horses in this race this week so it’s going to be pretty action-packed, and I think you can expect to see a good finish in this race this year.”
Oliver is also in action at Moonee Valley on Friday night in the $1 million group 1 Manikato Stakes.
Although his horse Angelic Light is an outsider, Oliver explained he had reason to be confident of a win in that race as well.
“She knocked off the world’s best sprinter in Lankan Rupee two starts ago,” he said.
“And of course we’ve got the old warhorse Buffering who actually knocked off Lankan Rupee, too last time, so there’s a bit of depth in this race with Terravista coming down from Sydney and it’s going to be a strong race as well.”
Meanwhile, Oliver questioned whether Caulfield Cup winner Admire Rakti should be considered the favourite to win next month’s Melbourne Cup.
“You’ve got to respect the Japanese horses, he’s a star horse, he ran fourth in the Japan Cup,” Oliver said.
“I’m just wondering a little bit, [because] it was three lengths covering the first 10 horses in the Caulfield Cup, whether it was as strong a Caulfield Cup as we might have seen in recent years.
“There just might be a couple of horses [that surprise]. Hopefully the one I’m riding in the Melbourne Cup, an Irish horse called Mutual Regard, might come out of the pack and be a chance.”
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.