Champion jockey Damien Oliver now has the first call on the Melbourne Cup ride on the 2019 winner Vow And Declare.
Craig Williams rode Vow And Declare in last year’s Melbourne Cup triumph but has put his faith in the Paul Preusker-trained Surprise Baby to give him back-to-back wins in the great race.
Williams rode both Vow And Declare and Surprise Baby in their respective first-up runs.
Surprise Baby ran a close second in the Group 2 Feehan Stakes while Vow And Declare finished midfield in the Makybe Diva Stakes.
Williams was forced into a decision after Preusker decided to run Surprise Baby in the Turnbull Stakes, in which he will clash with Vow And Declare.
Vow And Declare’s trainer Danny O’Brien told RSN Oliver would reunite with the stayer in Saturday week’s Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington.
Oliver rode Vow And Declare to a second placing in last year’s Queensland Derby and fourth in the Turnbull Stakes but could not make the gelding’s Caulfield and Melbourne Cup weight.
“Damien Oliver will ride Vow and Declare, as he did in last year‘s Turnbull,” O’Brien said.
“Damien will have the option going forward.”
Damien Oliver will be aboard 2019 Melbourne Cup winner Vow And Declare in the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
O’Brien’s decision means Oliver could have the choice between Vow And Declare and Melbourne Cup second favourite Russian Camelot.
Oliver will ride Russian Camelot in Saturday’s Group 1 Underwood Stakes at Caulfield.
O’Brien was confident Vow And Declare could give Oliver a tough choice in the next few weeks with an improved effort in the Turnbull Stakes.
“We think he can win the Turnbull,” O‘Brien said.
“His two runs at 2000(m) at Flemington have been fourth in last year‘s Turnbull and third in the Australian Cup. We’re expecting him to be very hard to beat there next Saturday.
“He announced himself last spring in that race and I‘m sure he’ll do a similar thing this spring.”
Originally published asWill Oliver take the Vow for Melbourne Cup?
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