Champion jockey Damien Oliver is now in danger of missing a plum ride on Wandjina in the $500,000 Australian Guineas on Saturday week after stewards outed him for 12 meetings at Ballarat on Thursday.
However, Oliver is free to ride at the rich Caulfield meeting on Saturday where he has a solid book of mounts in most of the major races. Oliver said after the suspension that he would definitely appeal the careless riding charge next week.
“I didn’t know we started riding in lanes, but I guess we will find out at my appeal,” Oliver said.
The suspension means he will not only miss the ride on Wandjina but also Adelaide Cup favourite Pelicano.
Oliver’s manager, Mark van Triet confirmed the Melbourne Cup-winning jockey would appeal on Friday morning in a bid to have the hearing held “ASAP”.
While Saturday’s Caulfield race meeting will highlight three group 1 events, the drawcard will be a race of lesser standing but featuring the return of Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist.
Some of the quickest handicap sprinters from around Australia will line up in the Oakleigh Plate and the Blue Diamond Stakes is poised to show that fillies are still the dominant gender when it comes to the state’s most important race for two-year-olds.
However, some of the main players in racing still regard Protectionist, the brilliant winner of Australia’s biggest staying race and now arguably in line to become the world’s best stayer, to be the drawcard on the club’s most important autumn race card.
Racing Victoria general manager of racing Greg Carpenter said he was genuinely excited about the return of the former German horse now prepared in Newcastle by Kris Lees.
“It was an outstanding win in the Melbourne Cup, a win just as good as Makybe Diva in her three years of successes. He’s a wonderful young stayer with so much ahead of him,” Carpenter said. “It’s a day of great racing at Caulfield but Protectionist adds that extra dimension to the card.”
Protectionist will line up in his first race start since winning the Cup in the Peter Young Stakes over 1800 metres.
While having only his first start back at an unusual distance, jockey Craig Williams sees his lack of racing as no obstacle.
“He’s a great stayer stayer with so much more to give. Overseas horses like Protectionist have proved time and again that they are able to produce big runs in races like this,” he said.
“On Saturday at Caulfield we will be seeing a very special stayer. I’ve ridden him before and he feels to me like a horse that will just get better as time goes on. He showed when he won the Melbourne Cup just how strong a stayer he is.
“He was beaten at Caulfield on his first time there but this will be his second effort at Caulfield and he should have benefited from the run.
“And I’ll just sit down with Kris Lees and the owners and map out a strategy of course. We’ll just have to take into account things like which way the wind is blowing and if there are any biases in the track.”
High-class two-year-old Fontiton continues to be the public elect for Saturday’s $1 million Blue Diamond Stakes but Williams believes that Fontiton’s stablemate Thurlow, his mount in the race, could well be a threat.
“I know the favourite is very good, but they’ve taken the blinkers off Thurlow and replaced them with winkers [and] that should give her more sight to focus on the job at hand,” he said.
Trainer John Sadler is quietly confident of winning his second Oakleigh Plate with the lightly raced sprinter Vain Queen.
Sadler said that he was pleased with Vain Queen’s build up for Saturday’s race and was confident that with the right run his mare would be in the mix.
“Sure her winning record suggests she’s better off up the straight at Flemington where she’s excelled in the past, but her runs around a turn have been OK as well. Actually she didn’t have much luck one day at Caulfield, so I don’t think she’ll have any problem come Saturday,” he said.
Sadler believes there are up to 10 winning chances, but believes the main danger could be Shamal Wind.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.