Oliver back un­der the Vega Magic spell again

The West Australian - - AUTUMN RACING - Michael Man­ley

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.

Picture: Getty

Damien Oliver

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