Cox Plate absentee Damien Oliver was on hand at trackwork yesterday to put Fiorente through his final paces for Saturday and gave trainer Gai Waterhouse a glowing report.
Oliver who was down to partner the former English galloper but had to relinquish the ride after being suspended for careless riding from the Thousand Guineas meeting on October 16 and has been replaced by Sydney jockey Blake Shinn.
Waterhouse said that Oliver told her that Fiorente was feeling very well and he wished he was able to ride him in the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley tomorrow.
“Danien Oliver rode him yesterday in his final gallop and he said he just feels fabulous. He said he is very fit, he said ‘I wish I was on him’, he said he just feels terrific,” Waterhouse said on Racing and Sport Radio.
Waterhouse said that Fiorente would be well suited by Shinn’s riding style but will wait until race time before giving final riding instructions.
“I think he will suite this horse right down to the ground,” Waterhouse said.
“I will see how the races are panning out,” she added referring to her thoughts on how the Cox Plate would be run.
Shinn will have to produce a career best ride if he is to get Fiorente home after the six year old came up with the outside alley of the fourteen horse field.
Fiorente’s normal racing pattern is to get back in the field and with no apparent speed in the race will make the job extra hard.
Fiorente is going into the Cox Plate with three runs under his belt and include a win in the Group 2 $300,000 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 14.
He followed that up with half a length fourth to Happy Trails in the Group 1 $500,000 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 5 and goes into the Cox Plate in top order.
Since the barrier draw on Tuesday, Fiorente has drifted slightly in the 2013 Cox Plate market order and is now a $6.50 chance after $4.60 was bet earlier in the week.
Tough Kiwi galloper It’s A Dundeel heads the betting at $4.20 just in front of the Darren Weir trained Puissance De Lune at $5.
Caulfield Guineas winner Long John has come in for solid support and is now a $7 chance.