Fairytale finish for Oliver not out of the equation
After announcing last month that he would retire at the end of this year’s Perth carnival, the legendary West Australian jockey will ride on the big day for the 32nd and final time aboard French raider Alenquer, which passed a late vet inspection this morning.
Melbourne Cup caller Matt Hill says a fairytale final win for Damien Oliver is not out of the equation.
Hill told Sports Breakfast Oliver was far and away the sentimental favourite.
“It would be extraordinary, it would be one of the great moments in sport of Damien Oliver is able to win the Melbourne Cup,” Hill said.
“Alenquer’s run in two Arc de Triomphe’s in France, which is the greatest race in the world as far as strength is concerned, its run in the Moonee Valley Cup was okay.
“I’m giving Alenquer a sneaky chance.”
The barrier draw for the 3200m race always attracts interest, with Hill saying the importance of the starting position depended on the nature of the horse.
“In the case of Vauban, who’s drawn barrier number three, I think it does worry him a little bit, I would have preferred to see Vauban drawn towards the middle,” he said.
“Then you’ve got a horse like Soulcombe, who gets back in the field, so it actually wouldn’t matter what barrier he draws.
“For the horses that need to be in that position on the turn, that need to track into the race, where the barrier is a problem.”
Ahead of being the featured caller for the race that stops the nation for the seventh time, Hill said the privilege was never lost on him.
“You get the nerves, but it’d be a real issue if you didn’t get the nerves, to be honest. It’d probably be time to give it away if I didn’t,” he said.
“It’s such an important event for Australia. We’re a young country, it’s the 163rd running of the race.
“It moves beyond the racing bubble … it touches everybody. It’s a special thing to be a part of.”
The Melbourne Cup is slated to jump at 12pm WA time.
IMAGE: Canberra Times