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Hugh Bowman is on standby to ride Grunt in the Underwood Stakes

Hugh Bowman is on standby to ride Grunt in the Underwood Stakes should Damien Oliver fail in his bid to regain full fitness.

Oliver has been cleared of any serious damage following a barrier mishap at Flemington on Wednesday and is confident he will be fit to ride in Group One races on Friday night and Sunday.

He is booked to ride $41 outsider Spright in Friday night’s Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley and Grunt, the $3 favourite, in Sunday’s Underwood Stakes at Caulfield.

Oliver was at the beach on Thursday morning wading in the salt water in an attempt to reduce the bruising from his left leg.

Grunt’s trainer Mick Price was concerned he would need another rider after Oliver’s mishap.

“It was a bit of a concern, so much so that I’ve got Hughie Bowman on standby,” Price said.

“If Ollie fronts up, he’s got to do his best on the horse, but that’s his decision.”

Oliver got his leg jammed against a steel petition of the barriers when Thousand Wishes played up in the gates on Wednesday.

“It was right on my shin and it was really quite painful,” Oliver told RSN927.

“Fortunately there was no serious damage, just a bit of bruising and hopefully we should be right to ride on the weekend.

“I’m quietly confident I’ll get there on Friday night. I’ll just have to see how it unfolds probably in the next 24 hours.

“But I’m pretty certain I’ll be right by Sunday.”

 
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