Oliver won’t let knock keep him down

A SECOND pre-race mishap within the past month left champion hoop Damien Oliver nursing an injured left ankle but he is confident he will be right to ride on Derby Day.

Oliver was left feeling sore and sorry for himself after his mount Lucky Fish unseated him just moments before the last race at Bendigo.


He was left seated on the turf, holding with his left ankle, with his riding boot off. The horse was scratched as Oliver was quickly attended on the scene by an ambulance.

The incident comes after he suffered severe leg bruising in late September at Flemington when his mount Thousand Wishes flipped backwards in the barrier, wedging his lower left leg between the horse and the gates.

Damien Oliver was assisted off the track after hurting his leg in a barrioer incident at Flemington in September. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

The three-time Melbourne Cup-winning jockey has been engaged to ride international Red Verdon in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup, and was expected to ride that horse at Werribee on Thursday morning.

He has at least three rides in Group 1 races on Saturday — Thorondor (Coolmore Stud Stakes), Bring Me Roses (Empire Rose Stakes) and Grinzinger Star (Victoria Derby).

Red Alto upstages Cup hopefuls

RED Alto has snuffed out the flickering hopes of three Melbourne Cup contenders with a signature upset in the Group 3 $350,000 Bendigo Cup (2400m).

Unwanted in betting, Red Alto started at $71 before staving off Melbourne Cup aspirants Dal Harraild, Sir Charles Road and Lord Fandango in another stunning boilover.

Taking his earnings to almost $800,000 with eight wins from 45 starts, Red Alto bookended a remarkable spring campaign with narrow success.

Red Alto takes out the Bendigo Cup!

Make that a winning double for trainer @Brent21579546. pic.twitter.com/QJcTbkSef7

Five starts ago, trainer Brent Stanley took Red Alto to Sydney and took on, and beat, eight runners trained by Chris Waller.

At Bendigo, after unplaced runs in the Benalla and Hamilton Cups, Red Alto was on a similar David and Goliath mission with Stanley and jockey Michael Walker.

The pair was not only pitted against highly-rated favourite Furrion ($2.70), who had been specifically set for the Cup by Darren Weir for the race sponsor and prominent owner, Jayco’s Gerry Ryan, but there was also serious Melbourne Cup ramifications elsewhere.

Sir Charles Road, who is 25th in the Cup order of entry, could have earned a penalty and moved into Tuesday’s field with victory.

Ditto for Lord Fandango (34th) and Dal Harraild (36th).

Michael Walker steers Red Alto to an upset win in the Bendigo Cup. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Supplied

Ciaron Maher and David Eustace’s Dal Harraild came closest, going under a long head as Kerrin McEvoy chased a third successive victory in the race.

Stanley, who trains near Bendigo at Sutton Grange, was unsurprised by the win, revealing he had a “cheeky bet.”

“He’s (Red Alto) performed with these horses, he’s run fourth in a (VRC) Derby (to Tarzino in 2015) and sixth in a Queensland Derby (to Eagle Way),” Stanley said.

“He’s been around these kind of horses before, he just needed everything to go right.

“(He’s) at the end of a long preparation (now), he gave us a big thrill winning that race at Randwick against the Wallers. He’s always out there, Billy.

“The owners were a bit concerned after last-start (fifth in the Hamilton Cup to Master Zephyr), but he got his tongue over the bit.

He loves a boilover, Red Alto!

The Brent Stanley-trained gelding salutes in the Bendigo Cup at 70-1. What a day for @Brent21579546! pic.twitter.com/oOO4OTbjB5

“Tongue tie today and he could breathe today so he got to the line.”

Walker said Caulfield Cup-winning jockey Stanley’s instructions to sit close to the speed worked perfectly.

“Everything worked out to plan, I had a beautiful run,” Walker said.

“I had to wait for the split, got it, and he was tough.

“On the corner, I thought I was going to win. He was going really good.

“It was a tough win. It’s good for Brent and all of his staff.”

Furrion, who sat back in the field, ran on stoutly for fourth.

Originally published as Oliver won’t let knock keep him down

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