Oliver jumps aboard Albany hope
Three-time Melbourne Cup winning Jockey Damien Oliver is a star booking on Albany galloper Wild Fusion, who will contest the $100,000 Tabtouch Country Championship Final at Ascot on Saturday for local trainer Liam O’Loughlin.
Oliver, who who has won 119 Group 1 races, will jump aboard the O’Loughlin-trained Wild Fusion after his brilliant first-up win for jockey Mitchell Patemant in the Great Southern heat earlier this month.
After winning the Great Southern heat held in Albany, Wild Fusion was guaranteed a start in the final over 1200m at Ascot on day two of the TABtouch Masters Carnival.
O’Loughlin said it was a huge honour to have such a high-profile jockey aboard his runner.
“Mitch was going to ride it but he had to stay loyal and ride Peter Fernie’s one,” O’Loughlin said.
“We had a chat with the owners and thought ‘let’s get the best jockey in Australia on’ and rang his manager on Friday and they got back to us on Sunday and said ‘book him in’.
“It probably won’t happen again, he was my idol growing up. I’ve always dreamed of having him on one of my horses.”
The Albany trainer said Wild Fusion will play a big part in the feature race.
“He pulled up super and has improved massively since his last run,” he said.
“Kept him fresh for the 1200m, he’s drawn perfectly hopefully get the same run as last start.
“This is a harder race and more depth in the field but I’m more confident than last start.
“He worked his best he has on Tuesday.”
Wild Fusion has drawn perfectly in barrier three with 58kg.
Albany has almost have the field in the final, with six local horses among the field of 13.
The Peter Western-trained Magic Opus and Des Attwell’s Long Knife Brother finished second and third respectively in the Albany heat while Read The Riot Act and Speed Bandit also gained qualification after finishing in the top five.
Roy Rogers will have two runners engaged, staying type Ionyx also entered with apprentice Harry Grace to ride.
Magic Opus and Long Knife Brother drew awkwardly, in gate 12 and nine respectively.
Mother and daughter Sam and Natasha Faithfull will team up with Speed Bandit, who has drawn barrier two and carries the minimum 54kg.
Leading Albany trainer Steve Wolfe will have two runners in the $100,000 TabTouch Westspeed Platinum Series Final (1400m).
One Point Lady will be ridden by Shaun McGruddy and War Class has Peter Knuckey aboard.
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