Damien Oliver’s decision to ride Flying Artie over Extreme Choice in the Blue Diamond didn’t get the desired result.
But it still might lead to Oliver to winning the world’s richest race for two-year-olds for the second time.
Extreme Choice held off Flying Artie in the Diamond with the luck in running being the difference between the stablemates.
“It showed with me getting speared off the track in the Diamond and the fact that there wasn’t a big margin in it, that there wasn’t much between them,” Oliver said.
“I can’t categorically say he would have won, but I’m sure he would have gone close.”
Extreme Choice, to be ridden by Craig Newitt, is a clear-cut favourite to claim the Blue Diamond-Golden Slipper double Rosehill on Saturday but bookmakers are starting to take risks with the colt.
He has eased from $2.80 to $3.50 as Flying Artie firmed to $5.
But Oliver says Flying Artie’s Mick Price-trained stablemate is still the horse to beat.
A good barrier draw for the first time this campaign and fitness improvement is a boost for Oliver’s confidence.
Flying Artie has barrier five and Extreme Choice has gate seven.
Price revealed after Tuesday’s draw he wants Flying Artie ridden closer than he was in the Diamond and stewards confirmed on Friday there will be switch in tactics.
Flying Artie and Extreme Choice worked together on the course proper at Rosehill on Tuesday.
“It was good. You’d have to say the other horse worked better but that’s not uncommon for these two,” Oliver said.
Oliver won the 2007 Golden Slipper on Forensics while Price is chasing his first win in the race.
It’s been 21 years since a Melbourne-trained colt won.
Redoute’s Choice looked over the line before his raceday scratching in 1999 and since then it’s been Melbourne-trained fillies who have done best with Miss Finland winning in 2006 and Crystal Lily scoring in 2010.
Miss Finland’s jockey Craig Williams is sweating on a scratching for him to ride in this year’s race with his mount, the $201 outsider Moqueen, the first emergency.
He rates Extreme Choice and Flying Artie as the Slipper’s benchmark horses.
“The two Melbourne horses stand out,” he said.
Businessman John Singleton says he wants to back unbeaten Kiss And Make Up to win more than $1 million.
Singleton has a system in which he places the equivalent of fifth-placed prize money on one of his runners when their stable gives them a winning chance.
Gai Waterhouse likes Kiss And Make Up’s prospects and it’s enough to convince Singleton to try to get $130,000 on the colt which is rated a $9 hope with some corporates.
After a Friday afternoon inspection, the Rosehill track was rated in soft range but Australian Turf Club officials were bracing for late showers.