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Two times Cox Plate winning jockey Damien Oliver will be focused on winning the 2017 Group 1 $3m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley on Saturday, not on beating the mighty mare Winx.

Damien Oliver will ride Happy Clapper, above, in the 2017 Ladbrokes Cox Plate at The Valley. Photo by Steve Hart.

Damien Oliver will ride Happy Clapper, above, in the 2017 Ladbrokes Cox Plate at The Valley. Photo by Steve Hart.

Oliver rides the Pat Webster trained Happy Clapper who is marked at $26 with Ladbrokes.com.au while Winx is rated a $1.16 chance to win her third Cox Plate trophy.

Oliver won the 1997 Cox Plate on the Bart Cummings trained 40-1 chance Dane Ripper and then saluted again in 2001 on the champion West Australian galloper Northerly who was one of the favourites at 5-2.

The champion jockey said that he would focus on giving his horse, Happy Clapper, every possible chance to win and not just try to worry about what Winx is doing.

“You’re defeated already if you think you’re going out there for second,” Oliver told AAP.

“I don’t think I’ll be going out there personally to try to defeat Winx. I think that’s the quickest way you can bring yourself undone.

“I’ll just be trying to ride my horse to give him the best possible chance and see what happens from there.”

Happy Clapper’s racing pattern to settle back in the field and Oliver will be looking to slot in midfield from the outside barrier in the nine horse Ladbrokes Cox Plate field.

Winx will jump from barrier six and her regular rider Hugh Bowman will be wanting to give her every chance to stretch her winning sequence to twenty-two and claim a third Cox Plate winning trophy.

Happy Clapper’s recent form has been very consistent and three starts back chased home Winx when runner up in the Group 1 $500,000 Colgate Optic White Stakes (George Main Stakes) (1600m) at Randwick on September 16 before winning the Group 1 $1m Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick on September 30.

Oliver replaces Blake Shinn who had been aboard Happy Clapper for his last three starts, including his last start second to Classic Uniform in the Group 3 $500,000 Aqualand Craven Plate (2000m) at Randwick on October 14.

Shinn has taken the ride on the Darren Weir trained Humidor who is marked at $20 with Ladbrokes.com.au.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.

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