The misfortune of jockey Brad Rawiller has given Damien Oliver a great chance to win the Group One Makybe Diva Stakes for the second year running.
Oliver is looking forward to riding favourite Black Heart Bart in Saturday’s 1600m weight-for-age feature at Flemington having picked up the mount last week after Rawiller was suspended for careless riding.
Rawiller won the Group One Memsie Stakes on Black Heart Bart on August 27 in the gelding’s first start this season.
Oliver won last year’s Makybe Diva Stakes on Fawkner, having chosen him over Alpine Eagle.
Black Heart Bart is the early $2.25 favourite in all-in betting ahead of stablemate Palentino who has been a notable firmer to $5.50.
“He’s in great form and he’s most consistent,” Oliver said.
“He hasn’t run a bad race since he has come over to the eastern states, so he’s a fantastic ride to pick up.”
Black Heart Bart raced 26 times for Western Australian-based trainer Vaughn Sigley, recording 10 wins, before being transferred to Victoria’s premier trainer Darren Weir.
In six starts for Weir this year, Black Heart Bart has won The Goodwood and Memsie Stakes at Group One level and finished second in the Newmarket Handicap, All Aged Stakes and Stradbroke Handicap.
He also won the Group Three Victoria Handicap.
Like Black Heart Bart, Oliver also hailed from the west before moving to Victoria early in his career.
“His former trainer Vaughn Sigley, I grew up with him,” Oliver said.
“He was apprenticed to my stepfather. So it would be nice to get a win on him.”
Black Heart Bart won the Memsie Stakes by 1-1/4 lengths from Rising Romance who is among the 15 nominations for the Makybe Diva.
Jacquinot Bay, a stablemate of Rising Romance, was the only horse added to the entries after they were extended.
Nick Hall will ride Jacquinot Bay should he take his place.
Oliver is set to have a strong book of rides at Flemington including star New Zealander Xtravagant who resumes in the Group Two Bobbie Lewis Quality.
“I trialled him a little while ago and he’s a lovely horse,” he said.
Oliver said he expected Xtravagant to run well but it was always interesting to see how four-year-olds came back after their three-year-old season.
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au