Champion jockey Damien Oliver is hoping to win his first Group 1 $1m James Boag’s Premium Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot in Perth on Saturday when he teams up with the Chris Waller trained Mackintosh.
Oliver has had a very lean Spring Carnival which was interrupted by a lengthy suspension which resulted in him not adding to his Group 1 tally over the Spring meetings.
Oliver had to serve a twenty-meeting suspension which began after the Caulfield Cup meeting on October 15 and he was back in the saddle on Melbourne Cup Day after Racing Victoria stewards found Oliver guilty of reckless riding for moving out abruptly at the 700m on eventual winner Flying Artie in the Group 3 $350,000 Catanach’s Jewellers Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m) causing Ken’s Dream to be hampered.
The multiple premiership winning jockey failed to ride a winner over the four day Melbourne Cup Carnival and wasn’t back in the winner’s stall until he saluted on Star Fortune in a 1200m BenchMark 78 Handicap at Moonee Valley on November 11.
Oliver then backed up the following day to win on Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott trained Prompt Response in the Listed $120,000 Twilight Glow Stakes (1400m) at Sandown.
Mackintosh has been installed as the $5.50 equal favourite with local mare Perfect Reflection with Ladbrokes.com.au and Oliver is confident that he will be able to get down his handicapped weight of 54kg.
“But I’ll do it,” Oliver told AAP.
“I think he’s a great chance, so 54 I can do. But that’s about my lowest.”
Oliver is a local Perth boy and began his career in the saddle in Western Australia before he headed East to join up with the powerful Lee Freedman stable to become one of the country’s greatest riders.
A win in the Railway Stakes has eluded Oliver and he would dearly love to collect the winning trophy back in his home town.
“I’d love to win it,” Oliver said.
Mackintosh’s Spring form has been fairly consistent and after scoring a first up win in the Group 2 $200,000 Task Retail Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill on September 10 ran third to Hauraki in the Group 1 $1m Epsom (1600m) at Randwick on October 1.
Waller only gave the Pins four year old one run over the Melbourne Cup Carnival for a one and half lengths fifth to Le Romain in the Group 1 $1m Cantala Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on October 29.
The Grant and Alana Williams trained equal favourite Perfect Reflection was back in winning form last start when she beat stablemate Disposition in the Group 2 $250,000 Waroa-Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) at Ascot on November and is a winner over the same course and distance as the Railway Stakes.
On the next line of betting at $7 is the Darren Weir trained Rageese just ahead of Lindsey Smith’s last start winner Scales Of Justice at $9.
Market order for the Railway Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $5.50 Mackintosh, Perfect Reflection, $7 Rageese, $9 Scales Of Justice, $10 Deposition, Tradesman, $13 He Or She, $15 Good Project, Heart Starter, $17 Kawi, Lite’n In My Veins, $26 Neverland, Great Shot, $31 Ideal Image, $51 Balmont Girl, Zarantz, $61 Showy Chloe, $81 Pornichet, $101 Tick Tick Bloom.