Oliver back under the Vega Magic spell again
It’s a tough life being a wanted jockey and the top hoops don’t always pull the right rein.
Last year Damien Oliver made a commitment to ride Almandin during the spring, at the expense of guiding Vega Magic in The Everest (1200m) at Randwick.
As it turned out Vega Magic ran second in the glamour sprint and to add insult to injury, Almandin didn’t run on the same day at Caulfield as had been planned.
Ahead of tomorrow’s Group 1 Goodwood (1200m) in Adelaide, Oliver had another choice to make.
He is the regular rider of $14 chance Secret Agenda, but arranged to get off her and renew his association with WA star Vega Magic.
Oliver is thrilled to be back aboard the Goodwood favourite and now he’s back on he doesn’t plan on getting off, confirming that he will ride him in this year’s Everest, which will boast prize money of $13 million.
Oliver has ridden Vega Magic once, for a win in the Listed Regal Roller Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield last August.
“I did have a long-term commitment to him, but I got off him in The Everest to honour my commitment to Almandin, which went pear-shaped anyway. I felt that was one that got away,” Oliver said.
Vega Magic’s owners and breeders Wally and George Daly are friends of the Oliver family and Damien’s late brother, Jason, used to ride for them.
“I’ve known Wally for a long time and there’s a strong family connection. I was really pleased Wally Daly gave me the opportunity to get back on him this campaign,” he said.
Oliver said Vega Magic had improved throughout his preparation. “He’s as fit as he could be going into a first-up run and each trial he had he improved, with the last one the best of them,” he said.
Oliver is not perturbed by Vega Magic’s tricky barrier draw in 14.