Melbourne Cup winning jockey Damien Oliver has elected to stick with the Gai Waterhouse trained Bull Point over the potential top liner Prince Harada in Saturday’s Group 3 $135,000 Manfred Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield.
Both colts are resuming after a summer break and Caulfield trainer Tony Vasil was not happy that Oliver elected to go with the Waterhouse three year old after riding Prince Harada to a luckless sixth to Long John in the Group 1 $1m BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield in the Spring.
Oliver has struck up a renewed association with the Waterhouse stable in recent times with the pair combining to win the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington during the Spring with import Fiorente.
The big race jockey said that it was a hard decision to choose between the two promising three year olds but finally went with Bull Point.
“They both look pretty smart horses so they were really hard to split,” Oliver told AAP.
“It was certainly a hard choice to make.”
“There wasn’t a lot in it to be honest.”
“It was probably just the fact that Gai has been a pretty big supporter for so long. But in saying that, they’ve both got great chances and would both be great rides.”
While Craig Williams filled in for Oliver on Bull Point in an exhibition gallop at Caulfield on Saturday when he worked with stable mate Francesco, the top jockey said that he felt good when he rode him at trackwork last week.
“He gave me a good feel,” Oliver said.
Oliver did give Vasil some compensation for his decision to dump Prince Harada when he booted home Richie’s Vibe in the Group 2 $220,000 Essendon Mazda Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley last Friday night.
Bull Point and Prince Harada will both be heading on a similar Autumn Carnival path heading towards the Group 1 $500,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 1 and a possible clash with Cox Plate winner Shamus Award.
Sydney based jockey Blake Shinn will ride Prince Harada in Saturday’s Manfred Stakes.
Betting markets have Prince Harada and Shamus Award fighting out the top spot in the Australian Guineas around the $8 and $9 mark with Bull Point hovering around $15.