Champion jockey Damien Oliver has been on a strict diet to get down to Egg Tart’s weight in the Group 1 $500,000 United Petroleum Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Oliver had no second thoughts about shedding the extra kilos to ride Egg Tart at the allocated weight of 53.5kg after riding her work on Tuesday morning and Chris Waller’s stable representative Charlie Duckworth said that it was a positive sign.
“It’s obviously a weight Damien Oliver’s not exactly comfortable riding but there was a big push from him after the feel he received from her,” Duckworth told AAP.
“That’s a massive push from a world-class jockey and it fills everyone with a lot of confidence.”
The lightest Oliver has ridden in the last month was last Saturday at Flemington when he got down to 54.5kg to ride Sir Isaac Newton (fifth) in the Group 1 $500,000 Seppelt Turnbull Stakes (2000m) and New Tipperary (fifth) in the Listed $120,000 Paris Lane Handicap (1400m).
Egg Tart will be having her first race start at Caulfield in Saturday’s Toorak Handicap but Oliver said that the dual Oaks winning mare will have no trouble with the corners after riding her in a gallop alongside of stablemate and Toorak Handicap rival Omei Sword on the Caulfield course proper on Tuesday morning.
“She worked well,” Oliver told AAP.
“She worked to the line nicely.”
Oliver and Egg Tart has combined in the past for a win at Flemington in the Autumn before she went to Adelaide with Kerrin McEvoy in the saddle to win the first of her two Oaks victories in the Group 1 $400,000 Schweppes Oaks (registered as Australasian Oaks) (2000m) at Morphettville on May 6.
Egg Tart then made the long trek to Brisbane to win the Group 1 $500,000 Treasury Brisbane Queensland Oaks (2200m) at Doomben during the Brisbane Winter Carnival before being sent for a spell.
The Sebring mare has had an interrupted Spring Carnival campaign and after running a first up second to Deploy in the Group 2 $200,000 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill on September 9, was forced to miss a run in Group 1 $1m Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick because of an eye injury.
In a wide open betting race, Egg Tart has firmed into a clear $5.50 favourite for the Toorak Handicap at Ladbrokes.com.au just ahead of her stablemate Tom Melbourne at $7.
Waller will also saddle up Comin’ Trough who has had some support to firm into $10 while Omei Sword is hovering around the $12 mark.