Damien Oliver’s Cox Plate hopes were dashed in the stewards room on Wednesday but his chances of Cups success this spring remain alive.
The top jockey is due to start a careless riding suspension after Saturday’s Caulfield meeting which rules him out of the Cox Plate.
He was to have ridden second favourite Fiorente who he hopes to reunite with in the Melbourne Cup.
But on Saturday, Oliver’s hopes are for a fifth win in the $2.5 million Caulfield Cup (2400m) in which he rides the David Hayes-trained Jet Away.
The import showed he was back on track with a game first-up seventh in the Group One Turnbull Stakes (2000m) after an interrupted preparation.
“Hopefully he can repeat his Turnbull performance and he’ll be right in the race,” Oliver said.
Oliver believes Jet Away’s performance in the Turnbull, in which he was beaten less than two lengths, showed he had not been affected by the setback which forced him to miss a lead-up run in the Underwood Stakes.
Jet Away has firmed from $11 to $9.50 with TAB fixed odds since the barrier draw and Hayes believes the stayer is fit enough to run a big race.
“Daniel Moor rode him on Tuesday morning and said he felt better than he did the week before the Turnbull, so in other words if trackwork and the way he’s feeling is any guide he’s better this week than he was last week,” Hayes said.
Jet Away drew barrier 13 which Hayes said was the owner’s lucky number.
“You never want to draw out but that’s a perfect barrier because you can just get on the back of something, not get knocked down and give him a clear run for the last half mile,” he said.
“And he’ll stay all day.”
The Chris Waller-trained pair of Hawkspur ($4.50) and Royal Descent ($6.50) remain at the head of betting while fellow Sydney trainer Gai Waterhouse won’t discount the chances of her two runners, Julienas and Glencadam Gold.
She rates Julienas as “your long-shot in the Caulfield Cup”.
“He’s flying,” Waterhouse said of The Metropolitan runner-up.
Craig Williams is aiming for his third Caulfield Cup in succession and like last year on Dunaden he will have to plot a winning course from a wide barrier aboard Dandino.
But he believes it can be done.
“I did flinch when draw 19 came up, so it just means he is going to need a lot more luck in the early part of the race,” Williams said.
“But he gives me great confidence going into the race even from the wide draw.”