Oliver chases Cummings ‘treble’ on Alizee
DAMIEN Oliver believes star mare Alizee could help him complete a rare treble of winners for the Cummings family in the Memsie Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.
The Godolphin mare - trained by James Cummings - has been a "pick-up out of the blue" for star jockey Oliver, who was singing the mare's praises at Tuesday night's launch of the Spring Racing Carnival in Melbourne.
"It's really exciting to get an opportunity on a class horse like her," he said. "I've ridden a Group 1 winner for James' grandfather and father, and it'd be nice to win one for him, too.
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"I wouldn't go that far (to say the stars are aligning), but I hope so."
Oliver's first Group 1 win came in 1990 aboard Submariner - trained by Cummings's grandfather Bart - in the Show Day Cup, when now head Godolphin trainer James was only a baby.
The 47-year-old jockey, who has since claimed another 113 Group 1 wins, said he was yet to jump aboard Alizee but had liked what he had heard ahead of the $1 million race at Caulfield.
"I hear she's a big, strong mare," he said.
"And she's got what sets great horses apart from others - she's got great acceleration. That's what you want - a horse than can get you in and out of trouble when you need to and quicken up when they need to."
Oliver joined racing officials, trainers and fellow jockeys on Tuesday night, admitting the eve of spring did not get any less exciting in his 30th year in the professional saddle.
This spring marks the first time that prizemoney and bonuses has surpassed the $100 million mark. Racing Victoria chairman Brian Kruger said he expected another thrilling spring on and off the track, with Tasmanian Cox Plate hope Mystic Journey one of his early favourites.
"We've got so much to look forward to - there's always lots of great stories and drama that come out of the Spring Racing Carnival and no doubt this year will be the same," he said.
"We've got the 159th running of the Melbourne Cup, the 142nd running of the Caulfield Cup and the 99th running of the Cox Plate … history and tradition.
"I don't want to put all of my eggs in the (Mystic Journey) basket, but she's just such a fantastic story. But she's going to have some opposition, so it's going to be really interesting to see how that race plays out."