Oliver won’t let knock keep him down
CHAMPION hoop Damien Oliver suffered a scare at Bendigo on Wednesday three days out from the start of the Flemington Carnival when he injured his left ankle just moments before the start of the last race.
But the three-time Melbourne Cup winner has declared himself a certain starter for Saturday's bumper Derby Day meeting, and was even hoping to ride his Melbourne Cup mount Red Verdon at Werribee on Thursday morning.
"I think we were all a bit scared by it, but he's fine," Oliver's riding agent Mark Van Triet said. "He just said it had settled down all ready.
"There are no issues looking towards Flemington."
Oliver was left feeling sore and sorry for himself after he knocked his leg while on Lucky Fish before the last race on Bendigo Cup Day.
He was left holding his ankle, with his riding boot off. The horse was scratched and Oliver was quickly attended on the scene and taken to the jockeys' room.
Van Triet said Oliver was assessed by medical attendants at the track where it was determined that he had not suffered a break. He was allowed to fly back to Melbourne in the same helicopter he had arrived at on track earlier in the day.
"He knows his body really well, he has had a lot of injuries," Van Triet said.
"He is standing on it now. They (medicos) looked at it and there is no break."
The incident comes a month 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.
Oliver was this week confirmed as the rider of Red Verdon in Tuesday's Melbourne Cup, and 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).
He has also been engaged to ride Booker in the Furphy Stakes and El Dorado Dreaming in Wakeful Stakes on Saturday.
Oliver is also booked for three rides at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
Meantime, international raider Duretto has been ruled out of the Melbourne Cup.
Duretto was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left foreleg after extensive testing at the University of Melbourne Equine Centre. Duretto, who was sore after galloping at Werribee last Saturday, will now be spelled.
His demise paves the way for Sir Charles Road, third in the Bendigo Cup, to move into the 24-horse Melbourne Cup field.