Victoria Derby winner Ace High can prove to be a winning hand for champion jockey Damien Oliver in Saturday’s Group 1 $5m Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield.
Oliver has a great chance to break an almost twenty year Caulfield Cup winning drought on Ace High who heads into Saturday’s Spring Carnival staying feature as a last start winner in the Group 2 $500,000 Yulong Australia Hill Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on September 29.
Oliver has won the Caulfield Cup on four previous occasions on Mannerism (1992), Paris Lane (1994), Doriemus (1995) and Sky Heights (1999) and Ace High is marked as an $11 chance at Ladbrokes.com.au to give him five winning trophies.
“I’ve had a bit of luck in the race,” Oliver told the Herald Sun.
“It would be nice to get another one, as it has been a long time since I won the last one.”
“I’ve had a few placings in the meantime, but it is never an easy race to win.”
“Yeah, I think he is a good chance.”
“The 2000m-plus looks to be his best trip and he is pretty adaptable in the way he races. They are good attributes to have for this sort of race.”
Ace High was one of the star three year olds during the 2017 Melbourne Spring Carnival when he won the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington but has been out of the winner’s stall until his last start win in the Hill Stakes.
The 2400m of the Caulfield Cup will suit Ace High who was beaten a nose in the Group 1 $2m Harrolds Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick during the 2018 Sydney Autumn Carnival.
Ace High gained the attention of track watchers on Tuesday morning at Caulfield when he looked anything but a top Caulfield Cup chance with a sluggish workout but trainer David Payne was quick to defend the four year old stallion, saying that he never performs at his best on the training tracks, but fires up with the blinkers on on race day.
“He’s done everything asked of him but he’s not a horse that shows you much at home but come race day that’s when he shapes up,” Payne told AAP.
“He’s lazy. He’s never won a gallop so don’t go on his work.
“He doesn’t come good until the blinkers go on come race day and I just wanted him to see the track, that’s all.”
“He’s a racehorse.”
Ace High will most likely jump from barrier seven if both the emergencies fail to gain a start and Oliver will be able to give him the perfect run just off the pace from the nice draw in the capacity eighteen horse field.
The Darren Weir trained Kings Will Dream has been impressive with three Group 1 placings from his last three starts and holds his spot at the top of the market order at $5, just ahead of the Chris Waller trained Youngstar at $6.
The two favourites finished side by side last start when Youngstar and Kings Will Dream ran second and third behind super mare Winx in the Group 1 $500,000 Seppelt Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington a fortnight ago.