Damien Oliver’s Cup mount Alenquer in doubt
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Damien Oliver faces a nervous wait to find out if the horse he is booked to ride in his final Melbourne Cup, Alenquer, will be passed fit to race on Tuesday.
Alenquer faces a vet inspection on Monday after the farrier found he had a stone bruise following track work on Sunday.
Trainer Mike Moroney’s stable will apply a hoof pad to the quirky six-year-old before stewards check on him as part of their mandatory pre-race veterinary inspections for the Melbourne Cup.
Kalapour won the Lexus Archer Stakes on Derby Day with Damien Oliver on board to claim his Melbourne Cup spot.Credit: Racing Photos
Although the group 1 winner in the United Kingdom is considered a 100-1 chance in the race, his run was certain to be closely monitored as Oliver took the mount as part of his Cup week farewell.
The three-time Melbourne Cup winning jockey, who is likely to ride for the final time in Victoria in a fortnight at Caulfield, was optimistic last Monday about Alenquer’s chances after he ran an improved race in the Moonee Valley Cup.
“He is not without a chance. I’ve got a great trainer who knows how to win the Cup and seems to be finding form at the right time,” Oliver said.
Oliver is in good form, too, riding a double on Derby Day as he showed he had lost none of his skill or competitive spirit. He put in a masterful front-running ride to help Kalapour win the Archer Stakes and a place in the Melbourne Cup.
Alenquer, who was one of only a few options for Oliver as the horse will carry 56.5 kilograms, seemed to be timing his run well and drawing barrier nine, the gate from which the most Cup winners have jumped.
Moroney said the gelding was beginning to improve his racing, having come to Australia with a big reputation as a group 1 winner at Curragh who ran ninth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October last year.
Moroney said he had seen the horse’s talent during track work, and although he hadn’t yet replicated that in a race he was confident Australia would see him at his best eventually.
However, he admitted give in the ground would help as the forecast is for hot weather and racing on a good 4 track.
“We are still finding out about him,” Moroney said. “We’re thinking maybe a little of give in the ground might help. He obviously needs to find a little bit of cover in races because he can over race at times.”
He was rapt to have Oliver on board as he aimed at a fairytale win.
“It would be a fairytale and I’d love to be a part of it,” Moroney said.
Stewards put out a tweet on Sunday confirming the stable’s report and an inspection on Monday. There are no emergencies in the Melbourne Cup, with the field merely reduced by any withdrawals.
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