Headline jockey Damien Oliver is free to ride Vega Magic in Saturday’s Group 1 $1m Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield despite being suspended for careless riding from last Saturday Moonee Valley meeting.
Oliver was suspended for eight meetings after Racing Victoria stewards found him guilty of causing interference at the 800m in the first race at The Valley when they alleged he allowed his mount Merriest to shift in resulting in Ashlor having to be steadied.
Oliver took advantage of being able to defer the start of his suspension until midnight on September 2, allowing him to ride the Lindsay Park trained Vega Magic in the first Group 1 of the 2018 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival on Saturday.
Stewards clearly disagreed with Oliver’s not guilty plea after the champion jockey was suggesting it only deserved a reprimand and Oliver will be out of the saddle from midnight September 2 until midnight September 10.
“I personally don’t think it is a careless riding charge. I think it is a reprimand myself,” Oliver said.
Oliver was aboard Vega Magic for his impressive first up win in the Group 3 $150,000 The Big Screen Company Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on July 28 and Lindsay Park’s head trainer David Hayes is very happy with the way the big chestnut has progressed since.
“He’s going great,” Hayes told AAP.
“He had a cruisy gallop on Thursday and he’ll have another gallop on Monday.
“I think he’s very similar to last year, if not better.
“His form, you won’t get better than the other day, the way he won. And nothing has gone wrong since.”
Vega Magic is already a dual Group 1 winner and as well as winning last year’s Memsie Stakes, also collected the winning trophy for the Group 1 $1m Darley Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville two starts prior.
Vega Magic is also one of the main fancies for the 2018 $13m The Everest (1200m) at Randwick on October 13 and will race in the slot held by James Harron who will be looking to win The Everest for a second time after his runner Redzel took out the inaugural running of The Everest last year.
Early betting for The Everest 2018 at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.80 Trapeze Artist, $6.50 Redzel, $7 Nature Strip, $7.50 Vega Magic, $12 In Her Time, Kementari, $13 Invincible Star, $14 Pierata, U S Navy Flag, Santa Ana Lane, $15 Shoals, $21 Brave Smash, $26 Chautauqua, English, $31 Happy Clapper, $34 Winx, $41 Le Romain, Showtime, Zousain, $61 or better the rest.