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An inspired ride by Damien Oliver saw Voodoo Lad breakthrough for an overdue Group 1 win when the seven year old stormed down the middle of the track to take out the $1m Crown Perth Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot in Perth last Saturday.

Voodoo Lad, above winning at Caulfield, was the winner of the 2018 Winterbottom Staks at Ascot in Perth. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Voodoo Lad, above winning at Caulfield, was the winner of the 2018 Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot in Perth. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

A magical ride from Oliver saw Voodoo Lad settle near the tail of the field from barrier thirteen in the fourteen horse Winterbottom Stakes field before the talented veteran found clear space in the straight to overhaul the placegetters Enticing Star and Malaguerra.

The Darren Weir trained Voodoo Lad was sent out at the for healthy double figure odds of $13 after coming off a last start eight to Brave Smash in the Group 1 $1m Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes (1200m) at The Valley on October 26.

Voodoo Lad had performed consistently at Group 1 level over the last couple of years which included a second in the 2016 $500,000 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield and a second in the 2017 $1.25m Newmarket Handicap (1200m) down the Flemington straight.

“I always thought this horse would be well-suited to this race, the pressure of the 1200 metres and he showed that today. He finished too strong for them,” Oliver told SKY Thoroughbred Central.

“The wide barrier forced our hand to ride him cold as he likes to be ridden. And coming to the turn I was following the right horse Enticing Star who had Malaguerra in front of us and I was able to peel off their backs.

“This horse has got a great turn of foot once you switch him off and produce him late.”

Weir was quick to praise the skill and timing of Oliver who produced another first class ride from an awkward barrier.

“It was some ride,” Weir said.

“He was back on the fence, last of all at one stage and he went through them and then got to the outside.”

Last year’s winner Viddora was sent out as the $2.40 favourite but the Lloyd Kennewell trained mare failed to fire and finished eleventh in the fourteen horse field.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.