Damien Oliver has picked up the ride on Kiwi mare Sofia Rosa in the Group 1 $500,000 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield today.
Oliver was originally engaged to ride the front running Lord Of The Sky for trainer Robbie Laing but when he was scratched due to a tendon injury, it looked as though the champion jockey would be without a mount in the first Group 1 of the Melbourne Spring Carnival.
But when Michael Walker was ruled out of riding at the meeting after injuring his back in a fall at Geelong on Friday, Oliver was quickly snapped up by Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh.
Walker will have scans on his suspected injured discs in his back today and then he will know more about the extent of his injuries.
Marsh is giving $14 chance Sofia Rosa a great chance of causing an upset in the Memsie Stakes after pleasing the stable with a third placing in an 800m jump out at Flemington last Friday with Walker in the saddle.
“I thought she showed good early speed, Michael got on with her very well and she travelled sweetly,” Marsh told The Sportsman.
“She pulled up from the jump out well and I think she can run a big race.”
“I thought she could run a really sharp 1400m in a fresh state,”
“She’s is not a dour stayer and it fitted into a nice program for her.”
“She’s probably not slick enough to be anywhere near competitive over 1200m in that class but at 1400m she could give them a shake.”
The Darren Weir trained Black Heart Bart is still a clear favourite at $2.45 for the Memsie Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au with stablemates Mahuta at $5.50 and Palentino at $8 next in the market order.
Market order for the Memsie Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.45 Black Heart Bart, $5.50 Mahuta, $8 Palentino, $12 Alpine Eagle, $13 Tarzino, $14 Sofia Rosa, $16 Rising Romance, $19 Charmed Harmony, $21 He Or She, $31 Tally, $26 Prince Of Penzance, $51 Tashbeeh.