Ollie has Ace up sleeve in bid to equal record
IT has been almost 20 years since Damien Oliver's last Caulfield Cup success, but the champion hoop is hoping Victoria Derby winner Ace High can elevate him to a record-equalling five victories in the race achieved only by legend Scobie Breasley.
Oliver last won the race with Sky Heights in 1999, and has had some near misses since.
But the reigning Scobie Breasley Medallist is riding as well as ever, and is hungry for more Group 1 success, saying he would be thrilled to add another Caulfield Cup to his honours.
"I've had a bit of luck in the race," Oliver said. "It would be nice to get another one, as it has been a long time since I won the last one."
"I've had a few placings in the meantime, but it is never an easy race to win."
Oliver takes the ride on Ace High in the absence of regular jockey Tye Angland, who is suspended, and he rates the horse a serious chance, despite a "lazy" track gallop on Tuesday.
The market agrees with him, with the David Payne-trained horse firming into $11.
"Yeah, I think he is a good chance," the 46-year-old said. "The 2000m-plus looks to be his best trip and he is pretty adaptable in the way he races. They are good attributes to have for this sort of race."
The four-year-old horse has won five of his 21 starts, including last year's Victoria Derby, and in his last start in the Hill Stakes.
Oliver's four winners in the Caulfield Cup were Mannerism (1992), Paris Lane (1994), Doriemus (1995) and Sky Heights (1999). He said the prospect of equalling the Caulfield Cup record held by Breasley, who died in 2006, would be among his many career highlights.
"It would awesome; it would be a great thrill," the nine-time Breasley Medal winner.
Payne assured Oliver that Ace High was a lazy track worker during the week when he was outpointed in a gallop at Caulfield with outsider Mighty Boss.
"He was pretty lazy and gave me that indication (in his work), but with his blinkers on for race day, he will switch on," he said. "He has got some good form leading into the race and looks to be one of the best locally-bred chances."
OLIVER RATES HIS PAST CAULFIELD CUP WINNERS
"More people talk about (runner-up) Veandercross, but Mannerism was a good race mare and very tough. It was a very good win."
PARIS LANE, 1994
"He was a good four-year-old who had the right profile for the race before the internationals started to come out. He was a Derby winner in Queensland and was well-weighted. He had a beautiful run in the race."
"He was a horse that Lee Freedman set for the race the year before and the plan came off. He turned out to be a very good for a period of time."
SKY HEIGHTS, 1999
"He was a bit in the mould of Paris Lane - a Derby winner in the autumn and a good, tough staying four-year-old."