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Damien Oliver rides Vega Magic in Saturday's Goodwood Handicap

Damien Oliver says he’s grateful to the connections of Goodwood favourite Vega Magic for giving him another chance on the gelding.

The champion jockey rode Vega Magic to victory in the Regal Roller Stakes at Caulfield last spring before forfeiting the ride to Craig Williams.

Williams had ridden Vega Magic to victory in last year’s Goodwood and was back aboard for victory in the Memsie Stakes at Caulfield before running second in the inaugural running of The Everest at Randwick last October.

Oliver lost the ride on Vega Magic after committing to Almandin for Lloyd Williams in his lead-up races to the Melbourne Cup.

“I did have a long term commitment but I got off him in The Everest because of my commitment to Almandin which kind of went pear-shaped,” Oliver said.

“That was one I felt that got away a little bit.

“I’ve known the owner from Perth over a long time and my brother used to ride for him so there’s a strong family connection.

“I was really pleased Wally Daly gave me the opportunity to get back on him this campaign.”

Vega Magic is trying to repeat his first-up win of last year in Saturday’s Group One Goodwood at Morphettville.

The task is harder as he rises 2.5kg and has to jump from barrier 14.

Oliver has been aboard Vega Magic in his trials and jump-outs and says the gelding has progressed well this preparation.

“He’s had three good trials now and is about as fit as we could have him going into his first-up run,” Oliver said.

“He’s improved from each one and his last one was the best of them.”

Oliver doesn’t see barrier 14 as a problem.

“He is a big horse, he’s huge, one of the bigger horses that I’ve ridden,” Oliver said.

“He’s got a big stride and covers the ground and I think that one turn track will suit him.

“All going well after Saturday, I’ll be riding him in The Everest.”

 
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