Big race jockey Hugh Bowman is on call to ride Grunt in the Group 1 $750,000 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on Sunday if regular rider Damien Oliver fails to recover from a leg injury.
Oliver was cleared of any serious injury after his leg was jammed up against the starting gates when his mount Thousand Wishes played up before the start of the Rose Of Mary BenchMark 64 Handicap at Flemington on Wednesday.
Oliver was assisted to the medical room at Flemington before being transported to Epworth Hospital for x-rays and a thorough examination of his injured shin which cleared him of any breaks in his left leg.
Grunt is the ruling $3 favourite for the Underwood Stakes with Ladbrokes.com.au and trainer Mick Price has Bowman on stand-by in case Oliver fails to recover in time.
“It was a bit of a concern, so much so that I’ve got Hughie Bowman on standby,” Price told the Herald Sun.
“If Ollie fronts up, he’s got to do his best on the horse, but that’s his decision.”
Oliver was hoping to be fit to ride the Garry Frazer trained Spright in the Group 1 $500,000 Charter Keck Cramer Moir Stakes (1000m) at The Valley tonight and was confident he would be right for Sunday.
“I’ve been down for a walk in the water and I’m certainly hoping I’ll be ready for Sunday,” Oliver said.
“I’m quietly confident I’ll be OK to ride on Friday night.”
“It was right on my shin and it was really quite painful.”
“It’s a bit stiff and sore today (Thursday) but I’m obviously pleased there was there was no serious damage.
“Just a bit of bruising and hopefully we should be right to ride on the weekend.”
“I’m quietly confident I’ll get there on Friday night. I’ll just have to see how it unfolds probably in the next 24 hours. But I’m pretty certain I’ll be right by Sunday.”
Oliver has been aboard Grunt for four of his last five starts which includes two Group 1 wins over the Flemington 1600m course in the $1m Australian Guineas (1600m) during the 2018 Melbourne Autumn Carnival and last start in the $750,000 PFD Food Services Makybe Diva Stakes a fortnight ago.
Spright is marked as one of the outsiders of the Moir Stakes at $34 with Ladbrokes.com.au who have the Darren Weir trained Nature Strip marked as the clear cut $2 favourite.