Still a perfect cup record, jokes Damien Oliver

Damien Oliver moves out with Sadaqa for the start of race 4. Pictures: MATTHEW SMITHWICK
Damien Oliver moves out with Sadaqa for the start of race 4. Pictures: MATTHEW SMITHWICK

DAMIEN Oliver may have missed out riding in yesterday’s Albury Gold Cup after his mount Zabeelionaire was scratched on the morning of the race, but he made a success of the day anyway.

The champion hoop had three mounts, with Sadaqa and Rose Of Falvelon running second and Fastcar finishing sixth in the Albury Guineas.

Oliver has only ridden on Albury Gold Cup day once before when he took out the feature on the Robert Smerdon trained Hofmeister in 2007.

The six-time Scobie Breasley medal winner was also a guest speaker in the Albury Racing Club committee tent.

“At least I can say I have still got a perfect record in the Albury Cup,” he joked when asked about the scratching.

Oliver said he was still on cloud nine after claiming his third Melbourne Cup aboard Fiorente in November.

“I only resumed from riding in September after a 10-month suspension which was only seven or eight weeks before the Melbourne Cup,” he said.

“Firstly you are just looking for a ride but to asked to ride Fiorente out of the blue, I just couldn’t believe it.

“My first ride on the horse was in the Melbourne Cup after I got suspended and missed the ride in the Cox Plate.

“So there was some anxious moments there — but to win my third Melbourne Cup in three different decades was pretty amazing.”

Oliver has ridden more than 2300 winners and is one of four to ride more than 100 group winners (with George Moore, Roy Higgins and Jimmy Cassidy).

“There was a bit of confusion about how many group 1 winners I had won and I didn’t realise until afterwards that my 100th winner was aboard Fiorente in the Melbourne Cup,” he said.

Oliver said he enjoyed being a freelance jockey and rode track work for Mick Price, Colin Little, Anthony Cummings, Danny O’Brien and Mark Kavanagh.

He ruled out riding overseas as he has three children and the family lives in Melbourne.