Trainer Tony McEvoy has confirmed that leading Melbourne hoop Damien Oliver will ride Stoker in the 2015 Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield next Saturday.
Stoker made his racing debut with a second place finish behind valuable colt Headwater in the Cactus Imaging Plate (1000m) at Moonee Valley on December 27 and he finished a close third behind Certain Ellie in the James Boag’s Premium Plate (1000m) at Morphettville Parks on January 24 before Oliver steered him to victory in the Inglis Premier at Sandown on February 7.
Oliver had also developed a partnership with promising juvenile Secret Agenda, but he was ruled out of the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) after he failed to fire in the Blue Diamond Prelude, which allows Oliver to continue his association with Stoker.
“I am really pleased that Damien Oliver has elected to stay with him,” McEvoy told Sky Racing HQ.
“It certainly made my day when the call came through and all the owners are really excited to have Damien on.
“He has ridden him a couple of times now, he knows the horse and it is a huge advantage.”
Stoker will be going into the Blue Diamond Stakes without having a race start for three weeks, but McEvoy is more than happy with the physical condition of the Written Tycoon gelding.
McEvoy said that he will give Stoker a couple of testing gallops towards the end of the week, but he is confident that he could not have the two-year-old much fitter ahead of his autumn grand final in the Blue Diamond Stakes.
“The horse has really come out of the Inglis Premier very well and he is really bright and well,” McEvoy said.
“I saw him do some striding work yesterday morning and he is in great shape.
“We will give him a bit of stronger work later this week, but he is all ready to go.
“He has really made excellent progress physically and he has really enjoyed his training.
“His fitness level is very good and I will just give him one more little gallop just to clean his lungs.
“He just needs to be held together, he is nice and sound and well.”
Stoker is currently available at 2015 Blue Diamond Stakes odds of $17 with Ladbrokes, while Fontiton ($2.50) is a clear favourite from Pride Of Dubai ($4.60), Of The Brave ($7) and Sampeah ($8).