Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
Ace hoop Damien Oliver will shoot for a Group 1 double on Sydney Cup Day at Royal Randwick this Saturday partnering with sure-to-be favorite Manighar in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes and top fancy Drunken Sailor in the days’ marquee event, the Sydney Cup 2012.
Sydney Cup Day brings the Royal Randwick Carnival to a close for another autumn and features an incredible four Group 1 events, Oliver with plum rides in two.
While the $500,000 Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) is officially the day’s headline race, the $500,000 Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) is this year threatening to steal the spotlight.
Oliver will ride Peter Moody’s piping hot import Manighar in the Queen Elizabeth, the race shaping up as a top showdown between them and former Melbourne Cup hero Americain.
Six-year-old Manigahr has been in sensational form for Moody since joining his operation at the end of last year.
Three starts ago they broke their Group 1 duck with a tight victory over last year’s Caulfield Cup winner Southern Speed in the Australian Cup, and they are yet to be beaten since with two more elite level victories in the Ranvet Stakes and The BMW at Rosehill.
Oliver hasn’t partnered with Manighar since the spring last year when riding them to a fourth in the Caulfield Cup and fifth in the iconic Melbourne Cup when the horse was prepared by Luca Cumani.
This time in for their five most recent runs Manighar has been ridden by top jockey Luke Nolen.
Nolen, however, will be in Adelaide this Saturday partnering Moody’s superlative mare Black Caviar next race in the $350,000 Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville opening up the Manighar ride for Oliver.
“OTI Racing are the owners and they have been big supporters of mine so it would be nice after having ridden him in all those Cups to win a good one on him,” Oliver said.
“He’s been in great form and Peter has done a great job with him.
“I expect him to run pretty well. Americain is obviously going to be hard to beat. I think the conditions of the track will be important.
“Manighar is probably a horse that’s better on top of the ground and Americain is a horse that’s better on softer ground.”
Oliver is also wary of More Joyous’ appearance in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Gai Waterhouse’s glamour mare to back up after her seventh Group 1 success in the Doncaster Mile last Saturday.
“That will add another dimension to it,” Oliver said of More Joyous running.
“She’s pretty good, isn’t she? She’s a winner.
“It will be a great race.”
Oliver is also excited to partner with another star import on Saturday with the Michael Moroney-trained Drunken Sailor in the Sydney Cup.
The seven-year-old comes off five top three finishes this year including a win in the Listed Roy Higgins Quality (2600m) at Flemington, a second in the Group 2 Adelaide Cup (3200m) at Morphettville and most recently their brave third behind Manighar and Americain in the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill on April 7.
“He’s been racing really consistently and should be right there again,” Oliver said.
Drunken Sailor currently occupies the third line of Sydney Cup betting paying $7.50 through bookmaker.com.au.
They trail $3.40 favourite Permit from the stables of last year’s Sydney Cup winning trainer Chris Waller, and the Hawkes-trained The BMW fourth placed Niwot at $4.80.
“Permit looks the obvious danger and also Niwot,” Oliver said.
“They have got a little bit of a pull in the weights on him but he’s very consistent and always puts himself there so he won’t be far away.”
The 2012 Sydney Cup final field of acceptances is due for release on Tuesday and will be published right here at Races.com.au.
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