Seven rides at Caulfield on Saturday for Damien Oliver failed to produce anything better than a third on his final day in Victoria.
Third, as close as Ollie could get at Caulfield on Saturday
- Now 21 races without a winner
- Arkansaw Kid, as close as Ollie would get
- Two Group 1 rides finish 8th and 10th
- Only 5th on final ride, Queen Of The Ball
Anyone who follows horse racing on the betting sites will know that it's a sport that often has a great way of producing feel-good stories. Saturday was not one of those, as Damien Oliver ended his time in Victoria with a whimper.
On Saturday, there were seven chances on a stacked Caulfield card for Damien Oliver to get a winner to close out the Victoria portion of his career. Despite a pair of solid chances on the card and a couple of Group 1 rides, there was to be no storybook ending for Ollie.
We felt that if Ollie were to get a Caulfield winner on his final day in Victoria, this would be the one that would salute. He had his stamina to prove over the 1400m distance, but on paper, it looked a much easier task for him than the opposition he had been taking on of late.
Turning into the straight, Oliver was sat in 7th and on the wide outside of the field. He was probably held up to get the distance, but stamina proved no issue as he powered home down the outside into third when the race was all but over. The speed bias beat him on a track that suited those closer to the pace.
A final Thousand Guineas for Oliver was not to be. 2008 was the last time that he had ridden the winner on Galicia. That was a third win in six years for Oliver in this contest after saluting on Special Harmony in 2003 and then the following year on Alinghi.
Oliver's filly this year never threatened to get involved. Held up in the early stages, she never got remotely competitive, only able to pick up a couple of places late on to finish 10th. An $18.00 roughie, it is probably fair to say that she wasn't good enough.
The Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes was the other Group 1 ride on the Caulfield card, the final Group 1 ride for Oliver in Victoria. His ride was a $10.00 chance for Godolphin and James Cummings from the inside barrier. This was a chance to get closer to the speed bias and perhaps grab that final triumph at the top table.
Sadly for Oliver, it did not work out that way. He was nudging along, leaving the barriers to try and take a prominent position, but the horse did not pick up as well as Oliver would have liked, and with the outside gates starting to push over the top, there was no option but to sit and suffer. That put him in the position he did not want to be in on the day, and he could never make up the ground.
Queen Of The Ball
The shortest price of Oliver's rides, she was sent off at $3.10 but could only finish 5th in the day's final race. As was the case for most of the afternoon, on the speed was the place to be, the winner bouncing out and putting the speed to the race from the early stages.
Oliver sat as close to the fractions as he had all afternoon on this mare, but she found disappointingly little when she was asked to kick in the stretch, fading out of things and ending up well beaten.
So that's it for riding in Victoria. There will still be a few chances to see Oliver when he returns to his native Perth before he hangs up his riding boots for good in December. We wish him all the best.