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One of the country’s premier jockeys Damien Oliver is looking forward to his Perth ride on Saturday aboard the visiting race favourite Magic Artist in the Kingston Town Classic 2015.
Oliver has been to Ascot Racecourse for six pervious rides in the weight-for-age $1 million Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) boasting a win and two seconds in the Perth Summer Racing Carnival major.
The success was aboard Sniper’s Bullet in 2009 and this weekend he gets the chance at another Kingston Town Classic trophy partnering the Andreas Wohler-trained German raider Magic Artist.
A winner of three of his 17 starts to date including success over 2000m, Iffraaj stallion Magic Artist leads the early Kingston Town Classic odds at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $3.60 to win his third run down under.
The five-year-old finished just a length off France’s Gailo Chop first-up at Flemington on Derby Day when fourth in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m).
He was fourth again and beaten narrowly once more by Turn Me Loose last time out on November 7 when returning to Flemington a week later for the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m).
Now connections, including Australian Bloodstock, are sending the galloper west for the Kingston Town Classic with eight-time Scoobie Breasley Medal winner Oliver replacing Blake Shinn in the saddle of the top fancy.
Oliver had two Group 1 rides at Perth a fortnight ago when fourth on Silverstream in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) and seventh on Real Love in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m).
He rates his hope in the third elite level of the carnival Magic Artist a far better chance and is hoping for a win at home before jetting off to Sha Tin Racecourse on December 13 to ride the Kris Lees-trained mare Lucia Valentina in the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m).
“It looks a really nice race for him,” the 43-year-old told Racing Ahead on RSN.
“He ran a couple of huge races in the spring in the Mackinnon and the Emirates.
“The 1800m trip for him after a month off looks fantastic for him in Perth.
“They say he likes firm ground too, so he’s got a lot going for him going over there.”
Oliver is also excited about his 2015 Hong Kong Cup prospects aboard Savabeel five-year-old Lucia Valentina after riding her from barrier 14 of 15 at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day for her Group 2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m) victory.
“Kris sent me some footage of her doing work the other morning,” he said.
“She looked fantastic. He said she’s freshened up really well with the month off, and she goes there in great form.”
Lucia Valentina pays $14 in early Hong Kong Cup betting with Ireland’s Free Eagle ($4) leading the all-in markets ahead of the defending local champion Designs On Rome ($4.80) and last start Melbourne Cup third placegetter Criterion ($5.50) for David Hayes & Tom Dabernig.
Criterion, Lucia Valentina, Mackinnon Stakes winner Gailo Chop and Chris Waller’s Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) hopeful Preferment all fly from Melbourne to Hong Kong at midday on Monday.
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