Star jockey Damien Oliver has turned down the ride on dual Group 1 winner Suavito in Saturday’s 2016 P.B. Lawrence Stakes in favour of jumping aboard fellow mare Miss Rose De Lago in the Caulfield clash.
Oliver was given the option of partnering the Nigel Blackiston-trained Suavito for her race return in the $200,000 Group 2 Back to Caulfield P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) over a track and distance she has won twice over in Group 1 company.
Instead he made the surprise call to take the sit on the Danny O’Brien-trained Encosta De Lago mare Miss Rose De Lago, the six-year-old to get the inside run from barrier one on the weekend.
He opted to partner O’Brien’s Caulfield track specialist after being impressed by her Flemington jumpout from late last month, where he rode Suavito in the same hit-out.
“They trialled against each other, I actually rode Suavito and I rode Miss Rose De Lago in her first trial, she trialled well her first trial and they trialled against each other in their second,” Oliver told Racing Victoria.
“Miss Rose De Lago trialled very well and Suavito, she was worse than what she normally trials, well actually worse than she normally does, she can trial poorly, I had to go with Miss Rose De Lago from the trials.
“That is not to say Suavito won’t come out and run well, she has done it in the past I just chose to go with Miss Rose De Lago.”
Suavito is the better fancied of the two in the latest P.B. Lawrence Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $5 in markets led by the Darren Weir-trained Mahuta ($4.20) who will be ridden by Brad Rawiller from barrier five.
Miss Rose De Lago is also at single-figures for Oliver at $7.50.
The former Perth-trained mare has won three of her four starts at Caulfield, running third in her other run at the track she returns to for the Group 2 showdown, since she transferred from WA to Melbourne in May last year.
She is also a Group 2 winner at Moonee Valley with a nearly three length effort over Noble Protector in the Sunline Stakes (1600m) back in March.
Her latest run was a ninth to Azkadellia in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) at Randwick in her first Sydney run, an effort she can bounce back from off the freshen-up back in Melbourne.
Oliver has ridden her once before under race conditions when fourth to Felicienne in the Group 3 matron Stakes (1600m) at Flemington the run before her Sunline Stakes success.
He is set to take her forward from the inside alley on the weekend hoping to match the speed of noted front-runners The Cleaner, who placed second in the P.B. Lawrence Stakes quinella last season, and Robbie Laing’s Bletchingly Stakes winner Lord Of The Sky.
“She is quite forward, she is a mare that likes to be up on speed and the race will be strongly run with The Cleaner and Lord Of The Sky in it, she is ready to run well,” Oliver added.
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