Champion jockey Damien Oliver has been cleared to partner Wandjina in the 2015 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot next Saturday night.
Oliver was taken to hospital after he was involved in a nasty race fall when he partnered Mefnooda in the Racing.com Maiden Plate at Bendigo yesterday, but he was discharged from hospital after being diagnosed with a concussion.
The leading hoop has relinquished all eight of his rides at Flemington tomorrow, but will still make the trip to England on Sunday and he is set to partner Medicean Man in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes (1006m) on Tuesday night before reuniting with Wandjina in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1207m).
Wandjina continues to build to the Diamond Jubilee Stakes in just over a weeks’ time and trainer Gai Waterhouse is thrilled with the condition of the Snitzel colt heading into the Group 1 event.
Waterhouse admitted at the Royal Ascot press conference that the 1207 metres of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes is short of Wandjina’s best trip, but she said that she has kept the three-year-old fresh and believes that he is a genuine winning chance in the prestigious race.
“He is a very honest horse and he is a very brilliant colt,” Waterhouse said.
“He is very masculine, he is very brilliant and he carries himself like a really good horse.
“1400 to 1600 is probably his best distance, but he hasn’t raced for a while, so he is fresh.
“He wouldn’t be here if he didn’t have a chance.
“We have come once before and we didn’t succeed, so we are coming back to try to succeed.”
Wandjina was slightly inconsistent during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, but he stamped himself as one of the best three-year-olds in Australia with three impressive performances during his autumn campaign.
The $1 million yearling started his preparation with a tough win in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on February 21 and he hung on bravely to record a thrilling win in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at the same venue on March 7.
Waterhouse opted to freshen Wandjina up for the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) and he was only narrowly denied by Dissident in the final stages of the Group 1 event at Royal Randwick on April 18.
Wandjina is currently available at 2015 Diamond Jubilee Stakes odds of $10 with Ladbrokes and is on the third line of betting behind Brazen Beau ($3.60) and Mustajeeb ($7).